Firefighters continue to battle 'massive' blaze in Wakefield retail park

1 February 2020, 16:03

Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

Firefighters are continuing to battle a "terrifying" blaze that started on Saturday at a retail park in West Yorkshire.

Eight fire engines remain at the scene on Sunday, despite the inferno starting more than 24 hours beforehand.

Some roads remain closed today, but people who were evacuated from their houses were allowed to return home.

Thick plumes of black smoke could be seen from across the city of Wakefield on Saturday after a fire started burning in Westgate Retail Park at around 1:30pm.

Roughly 140 firefighters were tackling the blaze - described by local residents as "massive" and "absolutely wild" - which started at Speedibake bakery on Colinsway.

No injuries have been reported, West Yorkshire Police (WYP) confirmed.

West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (WYFRS) had warned that the building could contain asbestos, however they have now ruled that possibility out.

On Sunday, WYFRS said: "Eight fire appliances and two aerial ladder platforms remain at the scene in Wakefield city centre."

It added that the fire was under control.

"Westgate Retail Park is open as usual, with the exception of Mecca Bingo, which will remain closed today."

Wakefield Council said Chald Lane and part of Colinsway will remain closed "for the foreseeable future" and it was hoping Westgate will reopen later on Sunday.

All other roads are open.

On Saturday, WYFRS had 20 fire engines from across the county tackling the blaze, with further help coming from South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service.

Emergency services are expected to be in attendance for the next 24 hours.

The service confirmed the fire began on the ground floor of a commercial building in the retail park.

Some people on social media also reported hearing explosions.

A WYP spokesperson added: "People are being asked to avoid the area. No injuries have been reported.

"We would ask all residents living in and around Westgate Retail Park in Wakefield to close their windows and doors.

"The wind is causing the smoke from the fire to blow into the City centre."

Wakefield Council said Thornes Park athletic stadium would "remain open as a reception centre" for anyone affected by the fire.

A spokesperson on the council's Twitter account advised anyone unable to get home to head for the stadium instead.

The Theatre Royal in Wakefield "sadly" announced they had been forced to cancel a performance by the tribute band Bon Jovi Experience.

"Due to the large fire close to Wakefield city centre, tonight's performance has sadly been cancelled. We apologise for any inconvenience caused," a statement read.

"Tickets will be automatically refunded for any purchases made via card. For cash transactions, our Box Office will be in touch on Monday."