Bradford fire: Two arrests as crews keep battling huge scrap tyre blaze

18 November 2020, 13:58

By Ewan Somerville

Police have arrested two people after a large fire in Bradford forced schools to shut and sparked travel chaos.

Officers questioned a 59-year-old man and a 48-year-old woman on suspicion of conspiracy to commit arson in connection with the scrap tyre blaze at a go-kart track one mile south of the city centre.

Firefighters have been working “tirelessly” since being called to Upper Castle Street just after 3am on Monday, with five fire engines and two aerial appliances remaining at the scene on Wednesday.

The fire has caused disruption throughout the area, with a number of businesses and residents evacuated from buildings, several roads closed and train services cancelled while firefighters tackle the blaze.

Three schools were forced to shut on Monday while nearly 100 firefighters and 15 fire engines battled the blaze.

West Yorkshire Police said the man and woman were arrested in North Yorkshire and released on bail after being interviewed on Tuesday night.

Detective Superintendent Sarah Jones, of Bradford District Police, said: “Our investigation into the fire is very much in its early stages and we will be continuing work to establish the full circumstances but I want to reassure the community that any criminal acts will be appropriately dealt with.

Read more: Bradford fire: 70 firefighters tackle huge tyre blaze

“The fire has had a significant impact on both businesses and residents in its vicinity, as well as Bradford city centre, and we are continuing to help and support our colleagues at West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, who have been working tirelessly since Monday to control the blaze.

“I would urge anyone who has any information about the incident to come forward and speak to the police to assist with our ongoing inquiries.”

A spokesman for the Environment Agency said on Tuesday that it is investigating the operators of the site after reports about the suspected illegal storage of waste tyres.

He said: “There are strict rules governing the storage of waste tyres which are designed to help prevent fires and to protect people and the environment.”

Fire chiefs have urged local residents to keep doors and windows shut and stay inside as much as possible. An air quality monitoring unit has been set up to inform public health advice.

Northern Rail said train services through Bradford Interchange would be cancelled or diverted on Wednesday, with disruption expected until the end of the day.

Anyone who has any information is asked to contact Bradford CID via 101, quoting crime reference number 13200575916, or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.