A HUGE fire has broken out in Durham – as the emergency services have urged people to stay away from the city centre.

Large plumes of smoke can be seen across the city as the emergency services have been at the scene of a construction site on Milburngate since around 2pm.

Durham City Centre fire: Live updates from the scene as people urged to stay away

Pictures and video have revealed large dust clouds on the construction site near to the new Premier Inn Hotel and site of the former Passport Office.

The County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service has confirmed there were no reports of an explosion despite initial reports, but said it is dealing with a large fire.

The Northern Echo: Pictures: CONTRIBUTORPictures: CONTRIBUTOR

A witness told The Echo that a fire took hold of the unfinished building at the site of the old Passport Office, with smoke covering roads leading in and out of the city.

They said: "The unfinished building is on fire in Durham City Centre - on the old site of Passport Office at Millburngate.



"Eleven fire engines on call now. (There have been) reports of several fires from a gas fire. (There's been) smoke covering roads leading in and out of Durham around area, making driving dangerous."

'Smoke and a strong smell by the cinema'

Another witness said: "I heard alarms going off [a] long time before fire. I work in Durham as a chef and it's normal to hear these each day. 

"I went on my lunch break and saw smoke and strong smell around cinema area with smoke covering the road where Milburngate roundabout is."

Durham County Council cameras have shown the scene from the A691 as roads have been blocked as many have taken to social media to share pictures of traffic jams.

The Northern Echo:

A County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service spokesperson said: “There are currently eight crews at scene of a fire at the Milburngate development in Durham City. 

"We would like to confirm there are no reports of an explosion and our crews are dealing with large fire in the construction site.

“Our colleagues from Durham Constabulary have closed the surrounding roads while our crews bring the fire under control.

"One person has been treated for smoke inhalation at the scene.

"We would like to advise local residents to close their windows and doors and ask commuters to avoid the city centre and find an alternative route home.

“Thank you for your cooperation.”

The Northern Echo: Picture: JACOB CUNFLIFFEPicture: JACOB CUNFLIFFE

Tolent, which operates the building site, have confirmed everyone working on it has been safely evacuated and the site has been closed after the fire. 

A Tolent spokesperson said: "A fire has broke out on-site at Milburngate today and fire crews are in attendance.

"Everyone on site has been safely evacuated and the site is now closed. No further information is available at this time."

We will be bringing you more updates throughout the day 


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