DURHAM City centre was brought to a standstill on Wednesday after a large fire broke out in the Milburngate area of the city. 

Huge plumes of smoke could be seen all around the city as traffic was ground to a halt.

Major roads in the city centre including Milburngate Bridge, Framwellgate, Crossgate Peth and Claypath were all closed for hours as emergency services extinguished the blaze. 

Durham Constabulary confirmed some roads remain closed.

Early reports of an explosion at the site were later played down by the fire service. It is believed the fire started in a cavity wall that runs along the outside of the development. 

The emergency services reported there were no major injuries as a result of the incident. 


Last night, the County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service confirmed the fire was under control after up to eight crews tackled the blaze for around seven hours. 

The statement said: "Thank you to everyone who found a new route home tonight, adhering to the road closures through throughout #DurhamCity.

"The fire is now under control & 2 crews will remain at the site overnight & into tomorrow morning to ensure the scene remains safe."

There was chaos on the local bus network after dozens of bus services were left unable to run while pedestrians and motorists were told to avoid the area. 

Read more: Milburngate: A flagship development in the heart of Durham city centre

The Northern Echo: Picture: JACOB CUNLIFFEPicture: JACOB CUNLIFFE

Construction company Tolent confirmed everyone on the site had been safely evacuated and the site was closed after the fire. 

A 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."

The Northern Echo: Picture: IAN MAGGIOREPicture: IAN MAGGIORE

One eye witness at the scene 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."

The Northern Echo: Picture: IAN MAGGIOREPicture: IAN MAGGIORE

Keep up to date with all the latest news on our website, or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

You can also follow our dedicated County Durham Facebook page for all the latest in the area by clicking here.

For all the top news updates from right across the region straight to your inbox, sign up to our newsletter here.

Have you got a story for us? Contact our newsdesk on newsdesk@nne.co.uk or contact 01325 505054