An investigation has found that a fire at a West Vale business park was caused through the short circuiting and overheating of batteries.
Terrified residents heard deafening explosions as a blaze broke out in North Dean Business Park.
Fire crews, including ten fire engines and specialist appliances, from across West Yorkshire were mobilised as the fire had taken hold of a building in the complex at around 10.15 am yesterday.
West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service said the blaze involved batteries in the process of being recycled and residents were urged by police to keep their windows closed and stay away from the area.
A West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service spokesperson said: “Based on the information we have available at this time, this was an accidental fire started through the short circuiting and overheating of batteries.”
There was chaos on the transport network, as cars, trains and buses were diverted away from the area while firefighters worked at the scene.
Volunteers from the Canal and River Trust, who have been based at the Salterhebble lock, said that fire engines were already down at the business park before the explosions went off.
“There was one big explosion before a massive second one,” they said.
“It was like a firework storage factory had gone up.
“You could feel the shockwaves through the trees and in the air.
“The smoke then rose to about 40 feet in the air and it came across the road towards the bypass. The fire and smoke was quite considerable when it go going.”
A worker on the canal site at Salterhebble said there was some loud bangs before plumes of smoke filled the air.
“It was like fireworks working off. It really went off. You could then see the smoke that looked like a mushroom cloud. We were moved straight away from the area by police.”
Tracey Towell wrote on the Courier’s Facebook page: “I’ve never been so scared in my life, I ran out of my house in panic. It sounded like gun fire, all I could think of was my kids.”
Jacqui Howarth added: “The noise was horrific and went on for ages. I thought it was thunder at first but then it sounded like explosions.”
The fire was brought under control around three hours later although crews remained all night at the scene. An investigation is now underway into the cause.
The building was L shaped and one partwas destroyed by fire with significant structural damage.
Incident Commander Jim Butters said: “Crews were faced with a significant blaze involving several explosions but worked effectively to bring it under control quickly and prevent it spreading to surrounding properties.”