By Denna Bowman
Tyres exploded and a plume of black smoke drifted across Manchester yesterday after a fire ripped through a van hire depot.
A series of small explosions, believed to have been caused by tyres blowing up, were reported by neighbours close to the scene of the blaze in Salford.
The smoke was seen drifting across the Strangeways district and towards the north of the city centre.
Firefighters were called out to the fire and found several vans were ablaze. The fire was reported at around 4.45pm on Friday afternoon.
A witness who was close by when the vans started going up in smoke said: “At first there were about three on fire, but then from the number of explosions there must have been about five or six after 20 minutes or so.
“There’s about 50 vans on the yard. There’s a lot of smoke.”
Residents said the fire broke out at the Salford van hire depot which is part of the Cambridge Industrial Estate.
The van hire depot hosts dozens of commercial vans and lorries.
At least eight fire engines were tackling the blaze, with firemen on a hydraulic platform using powerful water jets to control the fire.
One resident said: “There have been quite a few explosions since the fire, we are half expecting to see debris flying out.”