Investigation under way into suspected arson attack after Hebburn warehouse blaze

An inquiry is under way after a suspected arson attack filled disused warehouse with smoke.

Thursday, 27th June 2019, 10:23 am
Updated Thursday, 27th June 2019, 1:08 pm
The fire happened at the former Phoenix Metals warehouse off Argyle Street near Hebburn Metro station. Image copyright Google Maps.

Four one tonne cubes of compacted textiles left inside the former Phoenix Metals building off Argyle Street in Hebburn caught light at around 10.50pm on Wednesday, June 26.

The incident caused a large amount of smoke to rise from the building.

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service sent a crew from Hebburn, two from South Shields, another from Wallsend and the area ladder platform from Gateshead to the incident.

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The firefighters had to force their way into the building - which can be seen from the Newcastle-bound platform of the nearby Metro station - using cutting gear so they could get in via a roller shutter door.

Three officers wearing breathing apparatus were then sent into the warehouse.

They used a jet to put out the fire, with a thermal imaging camera used to check the blaze was fully extinguished, with the crews on the scene until 11.40pm.

The building, which spans 100 metres by 25 metres and was formerly used as a steel processing factory, was holding 20 1 metre cubed compressed textiles in total.

The cause of the fire is the focus of an inquiry, with the incident being classes as a suspected arson attack.

Watch manager Trevor Smith, who is based at Hebburn Fire Station, said: “We had to force entry through to the building through a large shutter to get inside.

“These textile blocks are made up of horse hair mattresses and other items, so it created a substantial amount of smoke, which is why we called in more fire appliances.

“It’s a dangerous place if anyone is going into the building itself, it’s a large expanse and there are pot holes which have been filled up with bricks, but anybody who goes in there could have an accident.”

Efforts are also under way to ensure the building is kept secure in the hope of preventing further incidents on the site, which is accessed via Wreigh Street.