FIRE crews have tackled a blaze at the historic Swing Bridge over the River Tyne.

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue were called at 1pm today after about 25 square metres of wooden staves underneath the Victorian structure were seen to be smoking.

Fire crews and a fire boat were sent to the scene, between the quaysides of Newcastle and Gateshead.

A spokesman for the service said: “The fire involved approximately 25 square metres of wooden staves on a pontoon underneath the bridge.

“It was quickly contained, and the last crew left the incident at 3.15pm after checking for any possible hotspots.

“It is not yet known how the fire started.”

Work on the bridge began in 1873 and it was designed and constructed by Sir WG Armstrong and Company Limited of Elswick.

It opened to road traffic in June 1876 and for river traffic the following month.

The Swing Bridge is the fourth bridge to have been built on the same site over the Tyne at Newcastle.