TV mast fire caused disruption to up to a million people after more than 40 firefighters tackled the blaze

A blaze at a remote, 1,000ft-tall TV transmitter caused disruption, mainly to Freeview TV and digital radio, for up to a million people across North Yorkshire and Teeside.

By Georgina Cutler
Wednesday, 11th August 2021, 8:08 pm
Handout photo of smoke billowing from a fire at the Bilsdale transmitting centre in North Yorkshire. Picture date: Tuesday August 10, 2021. PA Photo. Firefighters extinguished the fire but concerns remain around the structural integrity of a transmitter mast, the North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (NYFRS) has said. See PA story FIRE Mast. Photo credit should read: Ron Needham/PA Wire
Handout photo of smoke billowing from a fire at the Bilsdale transmitting centre in North Yorkshire. Picture date: Tuesday August 10, 2021. PA Photo. Firefighters extinguished the fire but concerns remain around the structural integrity of a transmitter mast, the North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (NYFRS) has said. See PA story FIRE Mast. Photo credit should read: Ron Needham/PA Wire

A fire at a remote 1,000ft TV transmitter mast that disrupted broadcasts in North Yorkshire and Teesside has been extinguished – but engineers are still working to restore TV services.

The 1,032 ft-tall structure was built in 1969 and the coverage area encompasses County Durham, Hartlepool, Middlesbrough, Stockton, Darlington, and down to Harrogate, York, Filey, and Whitby.

Firefighters say there is nothing to suggest a blaze was started deliberately but further investigations are needed.

North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (NYFRS) said in a statement today: “The area around the site remains secure with a 300m exclusion zone still in place until the site operator can confirm that the tower is structurally secure.

“When the site is safe, North Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service will return for a closer examination. This will allow us to positively confirm that the fire has been extinguished and to begin the process of investigating the cause of the fire.

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“At this time there is nothing to suggest that the first is the result of any criminal activity but this cannot be confirmed until a closer examination has been carried out.

“We continue to work with the site operator Arqiva to ensure the safely of all those involved in the investigation operation.”

Smoke could be seen for miles around coming from the base of the tower and further up the mast.

Hiker Ron Needham said: “There was smoke coming out of the top a bit like a chimney.”

Mast owner Arqiva say they are working with the emergency services to ensure the safety of the site.

A spokesperson said: “We have started the process to gradually restore services using a combination of temporary structures and existing infrastructure elsewhere in the region, and will be moving through this process as quickly and safely as possible.”

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