Firefighters from across West Yorkshire were called to reports that a building in Cleckheaton was on fire with children playing inside it.
Five appliances attended the former Maccess building, Spen Lane, Gomersal, at 8.05pm last night (Saturday) and four firefighters were immediately sent in to conduct a thorough search. However no children could be found.
Crews from Batley, Brighouse, Dewsbury and Odsal battled the derelict building fire from the ground whilst an the aerial appliance from Bradford tackled the roof.
Batley Fire Station watch commander Jonathan Brants said: “When we turned up there was a structure on the roof which was on fire. It was well alight.
“We requested five pumps and an aerial appliance to tackle it from above.
“The structure on the roof was well alight, but we also had reports that there were some youths inside. We committed a couple of teams in to do a search but there was nobody inside,”
Mr Brants, who said people from the nearby estate came out to watch the incident unfold, added that four breathing apparatus, four large jets and a jet from the aerial appliance were needed to put out the fire.
The building, which is awaiting demolition, measures approximately 30 metres by 30 metres and at least half of the roof was on fire.
The cause of the fire is under investigation. Nobody was injured. Firefighters were at the scene for around two hours.
Mr Brants added: “The building was in a bad state of repair anyway. It’s been set on fire several times recently. It’s just getting boarded up, but the owner is waiting to demolish it.”
Cleckheaton firefighters, who were attending a chip pan fire at the time of the incident, said they could see the smoke and were being hit by the ash 300 yards away at Butts Hill.