Eyewitnesses reported a “horrific” bang as a large explosion went off in a former factory building in Belper town centre.
Workers at nearby businesses said they were shocked at the speed at which the fire spread at the former Thorntons site on Derwent Street when it broke out at around 3.30pm on Friday.
Firefighters and paramedics were quickly on the scene and a police investigation has been launched into the cause of the fire.
A police helicopter circled over the affected area warning residents to shut doors and windows as plumes of smoke containing asbestos spread quickly across the town.
Simon Hallsworth, 27, captured the above video in the minutes after the explosion.
He said: “The expolosion was a real shock. There was large plumes of black and white smoke. It was lucky the wind was blowing the way it was otherwise the fire could have affected nearby buildings.”
Nigel Taft, 42, of nearby business Amber Valet said: “I had just pulled-up on Derwent Street when there was a horrific huge bang and then what sounded like big fireworks going off. I heard it was ignited with propane.”
Daniel Wilson, 17, said: “The fire went up so quickly and with such an explosion. The paramedic cars were here so quickly and the firefighters had it under control in a really short space of time.”
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