A HUGE fire in Witney is now under control, after multiple explosions rocked a local scrap yard, where fuel fed '50 foot' flames.

Dramatic drone footage shows the scale of the fire, with firefighters' hoses paling into insignificance in comparison with the columns of smoke, which eyewitnesses said billowed hundreds of feet into the sky. 

At least one resident is having emergency accommodation organised, according to a local councillor, after a number of people were evacuated from the area. 

Around 60 firefighters battled what eyewitnesses earlier described as '50 foot' flames with 'multiple water jets'. 

Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service said the fire was "under control at 2.30pm, when the number of appliances was reduced."

They added: "Crews will remain at the scene for 24 hours for ongoing firefighting activities.

The Deputy Leader of West Oxfordshire District Council, Toby Morris, tweeted: "The fire in West End #Witney is now under control. Road will be closed over night. Just been to the refuge point to speak to residents with one now having emergency accommodation organised." 

Some residents were evacuated to Elmfield Council offices, according to police, who advised locals to stay indoors, with their windows and doors shut, and to keep pets inside. 

This morning police evacuated Farmers' Close and said 'several vehicles' were on fire. 

Plumes of smoke were seen billowing from T & B Motors in West End from miles around. The company added that there are no known injuries but are not currently commenting further. 

An eyewitness described the fire as 'out of control' this morning and said two or three of the 'constant' explosions set fire to nearby trees. 

In a statement, an Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said earlier: "10 Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue appliances are currently attending a fire with fuel involved at T&B Motors, West End, Witney. Both Witney appliances as well as pumps from Burford, Eynsham, Chipping Norton and the water carrier from Wheatley have been called in.

The Oxford Times:

Picture: John Foster

"Because of the nature of the premises, fuel is involved and there is a large plume of dark smoke."

They said the first call came in at 10.09am this morning.

The Oxford Times:

Picture: Michael Brooker

One local student noticed a ‘popping sound’ at around 9.30am, during a GCSE Chemistry exam.

Madison Horvath, 16, said she was near a window in her exam at King’s School and that no one else seemed to register the incident.

She added: “I looked over to the left and I could see a lot of smoke… (but) only noticed that it was bigger than a bonfire in the last 10 minutes.”

After the exam – which Miss Horvath said otherwise went well – she visited the scene with her mother.

She continued: “There was lots of ambulances and police and smoke everywhere.”

Police said the incident was a 'vehicle fire' and road closures were in place. West End, Bridge Street, Wood Green and Hailey Road were closed earlier. 

The fire service have since said West End will remain closed but all the other roads have now been re-opened.

Eyewitnesses said there was also a large cordon set up around the area, with bus services also facing delays.

Local residents have tweeted pictures of the blaze. 

West Oxfordshire District Council tweeted: “Like many of you, we can see the black smoke over Witney. Please be assured that @OxonFireRescue are aware of this fire and are dealing with the situation.”

Locals said the fire service pumped water from the river to help fight the blaze. 

Witney and West Oxfordshire MP Robert Courts tweeted: "Stay safe if you are in the area in #Witney today - and I want to thank firefighters from all over #WestOxfordshire for their hard work in tackling the blaze."

More to follow