A BUSINESS is facing a £20,000 loss this morning after piles of wooden pallets were destroyed in a fire in County Durham overnight.

The fire started at Seagraves Pallets, near Bishop Auckland, at about 10.30pm, last night and ripped through about 5,000 pallets destined for the retail sector.

Emergency services attended the blaze near Newton Cap Viaduct, Toronto, and remained at the scene for almost five hours.

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Two fire engines from Bishop Auckland, one from Spennymoor and a fire engine from Newton Aycliffe attended and crews used to jets to control the fire and prevent it spreading to other pallets and surrounding business units.

The sky over Toronto was lit up like daylight

Darren Byrne, one of three partners at the business, paid tribute to the fire brigade for their swift action which looked to have saved the business from ruin.

He said: "There are 11 jobs here, if the rest of the place had gone up I don't know what we'd have done.

"When I arrived last night the sky over Toronto was lit up like daylight by the flames.

"The firefighters did their job and managed to get a fire break in between the section of yard on fire and rest of the place and stop it spreading further.

"If it hadn't been for their action we could have been ruined. 

"I cannot praise them enough.

"Neighbouring businesses are affected.

"And, though we can manage our work today, we have lots of pallets going out every day, to customers all over the country so with nearly 5,000 pallets just a pile of ash we're going to struggle very quickly."

A County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service spokesperson said: "The crews worked together using jets to bring the fire under control they left the scene at around 3am.

"A joint police and fire investigation will take place later today to establish the cause of the fire.

"Well done team!"

The Northern Echo:

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