Firefighters are still putting out a massive blaze at a Bradford mill that has seen dozens of people evacuated from their homes.
At the height of the blaze yesterday more than 120 firefighters were on the scene of the fire, which started at the four-storey Grade II-listed Drummond Mill, in Lumb Lane, Manningham, just before 11.30am on Thursday.
West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service sent a total of 25 fire engines and two aerial appliances to deal with the flames which are thought to have spread rapidly from the building’s basement.
High winds in the afternoon fanned the flames, sparking the emergency services to evacuate homes in the vicinity and direct residents to the nearby Richard Dunn Sports Centre.
Around 100 people living in surrounding properties and from local businesses were evacuated due to carbon monoxide levels in the area.
They are today being allowed back to their homes.
Large portions of the historic mill collapsed due to the prolonged blaze.
Today seven fire engines remain at the scene damping down as senior officers work alongside Bradford Council and their structural engineers, considering potential demolition of the significantly damaged building.
Firefighters were called to the incident from stations at Bradford, Fairweather Green, Odsal, Shipley, Idle, Cleckheaton, Bingley, Illingworth, Morley, Stanningley and Hunslet.
West Yorkshire Police said it was called to help with road closures, with Lumb Lane, between White Abbey Road and Grace Church Street, shutdown and traffic being diverted. Bowland Street was also closed.
The blaze sparked an outpouring of emotion on social media for a building that opened back in 1886 and soon became a yarn-producing powerhouse, providing masses of employment.
The gates of the mill closed in 2001 but it was revived as a creative space for theatre groups and later touted as a potential residential and business complex.
Coun Ralph Berry (Lab, Wibsey) tweeted: “Lived near it for 6 years a fine building lost #DrummondMill.”
Temporary Assistant Chief Fire Officer Ian Bitcon said: “The fire was initially in the basement of a building which was part of the mill complex.
“By nature basement fires are incredibly difficult to tackle because there is nowhere for the heat and smoke to go.
“Firefighters were committed into this incredibly arduous and high risk environment and worked courageously to stop the fire spreading to the rest of the mill.
“Despite their determined efforts the fire broke out and spread very quickly to the adjacent mill buildings.
“Throughout my entire career I can honestly say I have never seen firefighters work as hard as they did to try and knock this fire back.”
As the blaze spread to the four storey mill building next to Lumb Lane and a five storey building at the rear of the site, officers made the tactical decision to remove crews from inside for their own safety.
From this point the fire was fought from the outside with priority being prevention of further spread to nearby properties, including Green Lane School.
Temp ACO Ian Bitcon added: “This fire was ferocious and the intense heat at close proximity was stifling.
“The height of the fire was at around 3pm and it was under control by 10.30pm, and it is thanks to the firefighters that did not spread elsewhere.
“The building has suffered significant damage and structural collapse, so our priority today is working alongside our partners to determine the next steps.”
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.”
The public is still advised to use caution today and stay away from the area if possible as there are still smoke plumes - keep windows closed if possible.