The fire on Spring Mill Street in Bradford has caused chaos across the city with West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service tackling the blaze that started on 16 November.

Crews were called at 3:09am after reports of a large number of tyres burning on Upper Castle Street.

15 fire crews and over 100 attended from the Fire Service with support from West Yorkshire Police, the Environment Agency and Bradford Council.

Five days later the fire is still impacting residents of East Bowling who have been advised to stay indoors and keep all windows and doors closed to limit the damage from the smoke.

The blaze has had an impact on the wider city as well with roads and trains services also limited.

Several roads around the fire had to close such as Parma Street Junction Spring Mill Street, Ripley Street Junction Spring Mill Street, Mill Lane Junction Manchester Road, Nelson Street Junction Caledonia Street and Fitzwilliam Street Junction Mill Lane

There have also been no trains in or out of Bradford Interchange due to the lack of visibility on the tracks.

Large Fire at on Upper Castle Street
Credit Leeds City Station

Six schools were forced to closed for a whole week for safety.

They are Bronte Girls’ Academy, Dixons City Academy, Dixons Sixth Form Academy, Rainbow Primary School, Bowling Park Primary School, Park Primary Pupil Referral Unit

District Commander for Bradford in West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, Benjy Bush, said: “Crews have been working tirelessly to bring this fire under control, and we are succeeding but there is still work to be done.

“Since Monday morning our crews have been using aerial appliances and our specialist high volume pump to tackle the blaze., We’ve introduced foam to further tackle the flames that are still burning. This can generate more smoke, and with the amount already significant we would like to remind people to stay inside as much as possible and keep their windows and doors shut.

“We and our partners are absolutely committed to keeping people safe and we will continue to work night and day until this incident is resolved.”

West Yorkshire Police Officers arrested a 59-year-old man and a 48-year-old woman in North Yorkshire for conspiracy to commit arson.

They were both interviewed by police and have been released on bail.

Detective Superintendent Sarah Jones, of Bradford District Police, said: “Our investigation into the fire is very much in its early stages and we will be continuing work to establish the full circumstances but I want to reassure the community that any criminal acts will be appropriately dealt with.

“The fire has had a significant impact on both businesses and residents in its vicinity, as well as Bradford city centre and we are continuing to help and support our colleagues at West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service, who have been working tirelessly since Monday to control the blaze.

“I would urge anyone who has any information about the incident to come forward and speak to the police to assist with our ongoing enquiries.”

The smoke has been so significant that it had reached parts of Leeds, with experts from the University of Bradford called upon to assess the air quality and members of the environment agency in Yorkshire.

Bradford Fire
Firefighters tackling the tyre fire blaze

Dr. Dhaval Thakker, Senior Lecturer in Computer Science in the Faculty of Engineering & Informatics, said: “We were given access to the site and were supported by emergency services. We have developed air quality (AQ) kits, which we took to the site and focused on measuring the AQ at three different strategic locations – one quite close to fire (50 feet away, under the smoke and wind), another 0.1 mile away, near the police station but away from wind and smoke, and the third 0.3 miles away but in the line of fire, smoke and wind.”

“It was amazing to see up close the fire and emergency services dealing with what looked like a horrific and unending fire. We also got to see the kindness of Bradford people, as we were able to use the power supply from a nearby car wash.”

A spokesperson for the Environment Agency said: “Our officers have been on site throughout the night and are still there providing advice to the fire service and our partners to help control the fire. They are also working to ensure fire-fighting water does not present a flood risk to nearby properties.

“We are also monitoring the water quality of Bowling Beck to ensure that no pollution is coming from the fire or from firefighting surface water.

“We are investigating the operators of this site following reports to our Incident Hotline about the suspected illegal storage of waste tyres. There are strict rules governing the storage of waste tyres, which are designed to help prevent fires and to protect people and the environment. Our immediate priority is to support the multi-agency response.”

Public Health England advice is that as smoke can be an irritant and if people of Bradford need to be outdoors they are advised to avoid outside areas affected by any smoke or ash, or to limit the time that they spend in them. Some of the substances present in smoke can irritate the lining of the air passages, the skin and the eyes.

Bradford Council Chief Executive, Kersten England, said: “I want to thank West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service for the work they’ve put in round the clock to deal with this huge fire. It’s been really hard for local people and businesses.

“We have had teams working night and day to help support residents and businesses affected and will continue to do so for as long as is necessary.

“Anyone in an area affected by the smoke is asked to please continue to follow the advice to stay indoors with their windows and doors closed.

“This is a major incident and it has required a major response from the Fire Service as well as colleagues in West Yorkshire Police, the Environment Agency, Public Health England, the Council and other key partners all working together to keep people safe.”

West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service
Aerial shots of the smoke billowing across Bradford

Bradford East MP, Imran Hussain has also been in frequent discussion with authorities over the Spring Mill Street fire. On the third day of the fire he told Asian Standard: “The ongoing fire at Spring Mill Street remains an extremely serious concern and I am in frequent discussion with Bradford Council, West Yorkshire Police, and West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service on efforts to extinguish the fire and protect residents.

“However, I have also been made aware that Public Health England have yet to provide a health impact assessment and I understand that the Environment Agency’s air quality inspectors only visited the site today. This is deeply unacceptable and puts residents’ health at risk, and I have written to both agencies today demanding answers and guarantees that the public’s health will be protected.”