Video: Leeds chemical inferno ‘may have been sparked by burglars’

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A HUGE inferno at a Leeds industrial estate may have started during a burglary, it has been claimed.

Around 100 firefighters attended the blaze at TradPak Recycling and Hazel Products when it broke out at 2am on Monday.

Firefighters tackle a huge blaze at Armley Road near Leeds city centre.

Firefighters tackle a huge blaze at Armley Road near Leeds city centre.

Plumes of smoke were still spreading across the Leeds skyline yesterday after the biggest fire that West Yorkshire has seen so far this year.

A statement on the Tradpak website yesterday said: “Early indications from the investigating officers suggest that the fire started whilst the site was being burgled and the area is being treated as a crime scene, further complicating recovery and firefighting efforts.”

Three fire engines and 20 firefighters were tackling the last of the flames at the industrial site at Armley Road yesterday.

West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service’s group manager, Martin Langan, said: “I have been in the fire service for 25 years and this is one of the biggest fires I have attended.

“It’s certainly the biggest fire that West Yorkshire has dealt with this year.”

He added: “Our fire investigation officer is on the scene and is working closely with West Yorkshire Police. Together they hope to determine the cause in the next couple of days.”

Demolition crews were on site yesterday to help firefighters gain access to the flames and are expected to still be at the scene today.

Yesterday, Armley Road was partially closed but a Leeds City Council spokesman said the closures were now being lifted.

Paul Amaral, whose furniture business JA Upholstery is two buildings away from the fire, said the blaze hadn’t affected trade and most companies were open again for business.

River pollution caused by the fire has killed a number of fish in the Leeds and Liverpool Canal.

The Environment Agency said they hoped to release the surviving fish into the River Aire last night. The smoke is not believed to be toxic but residents are advised to keep doors and windows closed.

Members of the reformed writing club Savage, pictured at Temple Works (Temple Mill), on Marshall Street, Holbeck, Leeds. Pictured (left to right) Robert St-John Smith, Peter Etherington, Heather Lloyd, Phil Kirby, Maria Protopapadaki-Smith (correct), Ivor Tymchak and Jamie Newman.

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