Hebburn fire: Asbestos fears as firefighters tackle 'substantial' blaze at former shipyard Hawthorn Leslie
Plumes of thick grey smoke poured out of the derelict Hawthorn Leslie site, in Ellison Road.
At its peak there were five fire engines at the site – which has been targeted in a number of fires in recent weeks.
No one is believed to have been injured.
Nearby residents have been told to keep windows and closed due to fears there may be asbestos fibres in the smoke.
Some residents have been unable to return home and a safety cordon remains in place.
Three fire engines remain at the site and safety advice to residents applies.
Crews from Hebburn , South Shields, Gateshead and Wallsend were called at 5.02pm to reports of the fire.
A spokesman for Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service said: “We are asking nearby residents to keep their windows and doors closed as the fire is producing a large amount of smoke.”
Northumbria Police said in a statement:“Residents are being asked to stay indoors while emergency services deal with a fire in Hebburn.
“At 5.38pm on today officers received a report via the fire service of a building fire on Cavalier View.
“Emergency services are currently at the scene.
“It is believed that the building may contain asbestos which is being blown about by the wind.
“Members of the public in the surrounding areas are asked to keep all windows and doors shut and stay indoors until further notice.
“Nobody is believed to have been injured in the fire.”
Hawthorn Leslie has been left derelict following its closure in the 1980s.
And since then the former maritime works has become a magnet for arson and other anti-social behaviour.
Previously Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service station manager Andrew Blower said: “We’ve had issues at Hawthorn Leslie, the old shipyard.
“We’re seeing if we can get something done with those old buildings, or even get them demolished.”