FIREFIGHTERS from across the region tackled a huge blaze at a bakery in Ravensthorpe last night.
Clouds of black smoke were pouring out of Regal Sweets and Snacks in Havelock Street when two crews from Dewsbury arrived at 1.30am.
When the scale of the fire became clear, crews from Mirfield, Batley, Ossett, Hunslet, Brighouse, Huddersfield and Elland were also called – 50 firefighters in all.
Watch commander Peter May said crews had to contend with potential hazards inside.
“There was an asbestos cement roof. With the heat, if it explodes, you get small dust particles,” he said.
“There were a few liquid petroleum gas cylinders in there which we managed to isolate and move from the site of the fire.”
He said crews managed to stop the fire spreading to an area with large walk-in fridges, and it was hoped stock inside could be salvaged.
Owner Zahoor Ahmed said he was woken by a call from the shift manager when he went to work at 4am.
He said: “I thought maybe when they set the ovens on there had been a small fire.”
But when he arrived, he found the street closed off.
“It’s something you can’t imagine at this scale,” he said.
There is extensive smoke damage throughout the building, a third of which is badly fire damaged.
The company, which moved into the site in 2006, employs around 30 people. It has a shop at the front of the bakery and supplies most of the Asian grocers in Ravensthorpe.
Mr Ahmed said they would not be able to produce any goods on site for the time being so staff would work from one of four other branches.
Three workers had been sent straight to the Manchester bakery to prepare celebration cakes due to be collected by customers today.
One fire crew is still on site and a fire investigator will visit later this morning.