FIRE officers dealing with the aftermath of a major fire at a Northallerton business premises are using a drone to explore the site.

Road closures are still in place around the site of last night's fire at Northallerton Tyre and Battery Centre on Brompton Road.

This is due to concerns over potentially explosive gas cylinders on the site and remaining hotspots from the fire which broke out at around 6.45pm on Wednesday night.

Due to the current dangers of entering the site, North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service are using a drone to hover above the damaged building and take aerial footage of the scene and the cylinders.

When the fire broke out, residents were evacuated from their homes and nine fire crews tackled the large blaze.

A 200m cordon was put in place around the fire site on Brompton Road as the emergency services worked throughout the night to tackle the flames.

They extinguished the fire and scaled the operation at about 10pm last night.

The Northern Echo:

A spokesman for North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service said: "Due to the presence of cylinders in the building, a significant cordon had to be put in place including road closures.

"This was due to the risk of exploding cylinders.

"The incident has now been scaled down to two appliances from Harrogate and Acomb who have remained scene overnight with an officer to maintain monitoring of the incident."

North Yorkshire County Council said that 40 residents from nearby Priory Close had to be evacuated by the emergency services when the fire broke out.

The Northern Echo:

Initially they were taken to the Friarage Hospital before being assessed by council teams who sought to find them suitable accomodation overnight.

Access to the hospital for the general public was restricted overnight, but A&E was not affected and it should be business as usual today.

A spokesman for the South Tees Hospitals NHS Trust said: "All planned operations and appointments will go ahead on Thursday.

"Access is via Bullamoor Road. Please follow road diversions and allow extra time for travel."

When the fire broke out, one eye witness reported concerns for nearby bungalows.

She said: "Town is absolute chaos with police, fire crews and ambulances at the scene. It's so sad for the business as well."

A video filmed by eye-witness Andrew Burkiss shows the building well alight with part of the roof collapsed.

At its height, the flames were battled by dozens of firefighters, including crewmembers from the neighbouring Durham and Darlington service.

A North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said: "Two crews from Northallerton were initially mobilised to reports of a commercial property on fire.

"On arriving at the scene, crews were faced with a developed fire to the whole of the building.

"The priority was to prevent the fire spreading to other nearby properties.

"Further assistance was immediately requested and fire engines were sent from Thirsk, Stokesley, Ripon, Richmond, Colburn and Boroughbridge along with our Incident Command Unit and Welfare Unit.

"Further assistance was also required from Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service to provide an aerial ladder platform."

The Northern Echo:

Road closures around the scene were lifted late last night, the fire brigade confirmed.

It is not believed that anybody was injured in the incident and an investigation will be carried out to establish the cause of the fire.

Northallerton Tyre and Battery Co also has a depot in Thirsk along with its two Northallerton sites - on High Street and Brompton Road.

A spokeswoman from the company said this morning that they would not be commenting on the incident while the fire service investigation is ongoing.

She added: "We would like to say thank you to the fire brigade for their prompt action last night.

"Thankfully nobody was injured which is the main thing."

Fire crews thanked the Northallerton branch of Greggs for handing out free cakes to those that were working through the night to tackle the blaze.