What we know about blaze in South Shields shop that saw area evacuated and smoke billowing up to 80ft high
Firefighters were called to the blaze in Dean Road in South Shields at around 10am on Saturday, December 28.
Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service initially sent five appliances to the scene and an aerial ladder platform to tackle the blaze from above the building.
Fire chiefs initially said it was at a commercial property before it became clear it was in a shop called Techniserve, which sells computer equipment, CCTV systems and security cameras.
Dean Road was closed, between John Clay Street and Milton Street, which is about 300ft, when emergency services were dealing with the blaze.
There are flats above the shop which were evacuated after the fire broke out and while firefighters tackled the blaze.
The fire brigade has not yet revealed what caused the blaze.
People at the scene said there was a plume of smoke 60ft to 80ft high which was billowing over the area.
Witnesses said they could see the smoke from the sea front as it dominated the town’s skyline.
The fire also affected local bus services which had to be diverted.
Stagecoach Northeast tweeted: “Dean Road in South Shields currently blocked. Service E2 currently diverting via Imeary Street and Westoe Road via Town Hall in both directions to and from the Interchange.”
Witnessed described how the drama unfolded
One woman who lives in nearby Delaval Court said: “I saw the post of Facebook and I came to have a look. I thought it might be the Chinese but someone said its the electrical shop.
“I could see it from my bedroom window, you don’t hear of things like this very often. I just hope no-one has been hurt.”
Dave Brindle, who lives in Dean Road, said: “I think its the electrical store. You can’t see much for the smoke around the front.”
Another onlooker said: "I heard the sirens but didn't think that much of it at first. Then I saw it on the Gazette’s Facebook page and came to have a look. I could hardly see in front of me.”
Joe Roberts, who owns That Nail Guy which is in a shop oppose the blaze, said: “The smoke built up and then went clear again. I thought it was fog, it cleared off then it was thick again. It started to turn black and that’s when I knew it was a fire. I was working and the police came and evacuated us and said it was a fire. That all happened at around 10.30am.”
Gayle Davies, who owns Hair Evolution which is situated outside of the cordoned off area in Dean Road, said: “It was so black we started diverting the traffic because we thought if the cars went down there someone would get knocked over.”
Brigade bosses hailed firefighters
Lynsey McVay, area manager for Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, said no-one was hurt in the blaze and the firefighters ‘worked fantastically well’ and contained the fire and prevented it from spreading to neighbouring businesses.
She added: “Our crews have worked fantastically well and contained the fire within the premises in which it started.
“They have done a great job.
“The fire hasn’t spread to the properties on either side, however the fire has spread beyond the ground floor.
“There are no casualties reported and all firefighters are safe as well.”