UPDATE: Homes evacuated after auction house blaze

A fire broke out at the former auction house in Huddersfield Road, Ravensthorpe, Dewsbury.
A fire broke out at the former auction house in Huddersfield Road, Ravensthorpe, Dewsbury.

A family fled their home as fire ripped through a neighbouring historic building and clouds of smoke bellowed across a major traffic junction.

Firefighters tackled a blaze at the former Dewsbury Auctions in Huddersfield Road, evacuating nearby homes as flames gutted the building and tore through the roof.

Abdur Rehman, his wife and three children, who live just doors away from the auction house, were advised to leave their house until the fire had been dealt with.

Mr Rehman said: “Obviously it was a scary feeling – it was sudden and we thought next door was on fire. We’re really going to make sure our smoke alarms are working.

“It was very confusing and there was a lot of smoke, we left because we were worried about the children.”

He said that only last year an industrial building that backed onto his kitchen went up in flames.

“It’s scary how many fires there are in this area,” he said.

Abdul Moshin, who runs M&A Mobile & Repairs in Huddersfield Road, said he saw flames coming through the roof of the building and crowds gathering to watch while he worked his shop across the road.

An elderly resident, who did not want to be named, said: “There’s always something happening in Ravensthorpe!”

The building’s owner Mohammed Bashir said he received a call about the blaze and had not been given any information about the cause.

Mr Bashir bought the property around two years ago when the former auction business closed down.

He hoped to sell the building on but did not know what his next move would be following the fire.

Two fire engines from Dewsbury, another from Mirfield and an aerial platform from Huddersfield were used to fight the blaze at around 5.45pm on Sunday.

Homes further along the road that were not evacuated were told to close their windows.

It took teams around an hour to get to fire under control and until around midnight before it was properly extinguished.

The cause of the blaze was unclear and investigators will determine how much of the building will need to be demolished.

Watch commander Richard Carr, of Dewsbury Fire Station’s blue watch, said: “It was a severe fire. All the building was involved. There was lots of thick black smoke and flames were coming through the roof.

“There was no access to the back of the building and the alleyway to the side is very narrow which meant we could only tackle it from the front until the CARP (Combined Aerial Rescue Platform) arrived.

“Debris was falling from the roof structure so it got quite difficult to tackle. The best option was to tackle it from the outside.

“There was an exposure risk to the residential properties so we either had to tell people to close their windows or evacuate them completely.”

The smell of smoke was still heavy in the air the following day and parts of the Ravensthorpe gyratory remained closed, with diversions in place along Calder Road and Netherfield Road.

The building has been closed and empty for around two years.