Arson investigation after fierce blaze at former Leeds mill

The incident scene. PIC: Bruce Rollinson
The incident scene. PIC: Bruce Rollinson
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A BLAZE which badly damaged a former mill building in west Leeds is being treated as arson.

Police are appealing for information after fire ripped through Swallow Hill Mills on Tong Road, Farnley, at around 4am on Sunday.

About 40 firefighters from across West Yorkshire were involved in dealing with the incident at its height.

Det Insp Ian Scott, of Leeds District CID, said: “We are investigating this incident as arson as the fire does appear to have been deliberately started resulting in extensive damage to the premises.”

Structural engineers were today due to assess the extent of damage to the building.

The two-storey former mill building is owned by family-run company West Yorkshire Drawing Office Services (WYDOS) Ltd, which has operated at the site since 1972.

WYDOS office manager Paul Atkinson, 47, said ground floor offices were destroyed in the blaze.

Mr Atkinson said no-one has yet been allowed access to the building as structural safety checks are yet to be carried out.

Mr Atkinson added: “It is a small family run company. We are all shocked and upset. But we will move on. Once we get the chance to get back in the building we will be back up and running.”

Det Insp Scott said: “We are appealing for information and would like to hear from anyone who witnessed anything suspicious in the area in the time leading up to the fire.”

Anyone with any information is asked to contact Leeds District CID via 101.

Or call independent crime-fighting charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.