Firefighters in Derbyshire have captured on video a rare fire tornado, or firenado, towering 50ft above them while they tackled an industrial blaze near the town of Swadlincote.
The film shows a dazzling column of red-hot fire reaching high into the sky as black smoke billows up from a pool of flames at a plastic pallet factory, where the blaze broke out at about 1.20am on Tuesday morning.
As the camera tilts back to show the full height of the phenomenon, the whirling string of light appears to pulsate and bend as it is whipped by winds.
Leicestershire Fire and Rescue Service, which helped the Derbyshire and Staffordshire services tackle the blaze, shared the video on Facebook, saying: “Whilst we were firefighting at Occupation Lane we witnessed a firenado or a fire whirl.
“It’s created as cool air enters the top of the hot air causing a swirl similar to how a tornado is formed.”
The fire has caused extensive damage at Ravensbourn Plastics Ltd, in Albert Village.
The blaze spread to a small building site and a number of fork lift trucks at the property, Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service said.
No injuries have been reported, but the enormous dark plume of smoke was visible as far as Nottingham city centre, 25 miles away.
At about 3pm on Tuesday firefighters were able to start damping down the fire, which had engulfed stacked plastic pallets ordinarily used for making plastic crates for supermarkets.
Speaking while crews tackled the fire, the Derbyshire service’s group manager Steve Wells said: “We’ve received lots of calls to our control room this morning, as people in the Swadlincote area have woken to the sight of a large black smoke plume.
“Crews from across Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Staffordshire have been working hard since the early hours of the morning – jointly with partners from the police, Severn Trent Water and the Environment Agency – to bring the fire under control, prevent any further spread and bring the incident to a safe and swift conclusion.
“Whilst the site of the fire is not directly next to any residential properties, we are still advising locals to keep their windows and doors closed until the fire is completely out and the smoke has subsided.”
He added: “Anyone experiencing any discomfort or breathing difficulties as a result of the smoke should seek guidance from their GP.”
Additional reporting by PA
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