FIREFIGHTERS have tackled a blaze in a well-known derelict building on the banks of the River Tyne.

The blaze broke out at Tyne Bridge Tower on the Gateshead side of the water during rush hour today.

Commuters saw thick smoke coming from the 13-story tower block, which is being demolished as part of the multi million pound regeneration of the area.

The blaze was reported to fire crews shortly before 8.40am and about 40 firefighters attended the scene.

Those first on the scene said the fire was in the lift shaft between the sixth and seventh floors.

Police temporarily closed the northbound lanes of the bridge and diverted traffic over the Swing Bridge but within minutes they reopened both lanes and traffic moved as normal.

Tyne Bridge Tower, which was built in the 1960s, was used by the Inland Revenue until June 2005 but has been empty since then.