Video: Probe after fire wrecks part of old Leeds printworks

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An investigation was under way today into the cause of a blaze at a former printing factory in the middle of Leeds.

Fire crews were called to the old Polestar Petty premises on Whitehall Road in Holbeck at about 12.30pm yesterday.

Fire in Leeds

Fire in Leeds

Thick clouds of smoke were billowing from the affected building while a section of its roof was well alight and a number of loud bangs were heard.

The worst of the blaze appeared to be over by around 2pm but later in the afternoon firefighters were continuing to hose the building from above with the help of two aerial ladders. There were no injuries.

Burnt and buckled remains of the building’s roof and upper wall section could be seen from behind a safety cordon put in place on Whitehall Road by the emergency services.

West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service said about 40 per cent of the site had been caught up in the blaze.

Firefighters tackling the blaze

Firefighters tackling the blaze

A brigade spokeswoman told the Yorkshire Evening Post that the cause of the fire was under investigation but it was not believed to have been started deliberately.

Today the stretch of Whitehall Road nearest the old printworks remained closed to traffic.

The factory’s printing presses were shut down in 2014, nearly 150 years after Petty & Sons began operating in the area.

Yesterday’s blaze followed a major fire at the Allied Glass plant in Cross Green.

Crews from across the county were called to Cross Green Way shortly after midnight on Thursday and at one stage more than 100 firefighters were in attendance.

The incident was under control by 6.30am yesterday but parts of the building remained alight and firefighters were due to stay on site throughout the weekend.

Brigade chiefs said an investigation had been launched into the cause of the fire but it was likely to take “some time” to complete.

Incident commander Gary Clare said: “Firefighters have done an excellent job in containing what has been a very serious fire.”