MORE than 30 residents were evacuated from their homes on Monday after a major fire spread to surrounding properties.

Fire crews were on the scene in Westbourne Grove, a cul-de-sac off Middleton Road, Pickering, for more than three hours with roads around the area closed to allow emergency access.

Six fire appliances were sent to the scene at about 1.50pm following reports of smoke and explosions.

A spokesperson for North Yorkshire Fire Service said: “On attendance crews found a mobile catering unit well alight, with explosions and debris reaching up to 15 metres away.

“Crews made up of six appliances tackled the fire as it was spreading rapidly to neighbouring buildings and hedges.”

A number of homes were evacuated and about 30 residents were supported at Pickering’s Memorial Hall by members of Ryedale District Council’s (RDC) community team and the councillor for Pickering East, Joy Andrews, together with emergency staff.

Cllr Andrews said: “It was quite a shock, but in all honesty it went like clockwork.

“The emergency services were fantastic and Bridget Skaife from RDC was amazing.

“I manage the memorial hall so once the police contacted me to ask if we could open up as an evacuation centre we had tables and chairs out and the kettle on in a matter of minutes.

“The residents who were evacuated were brilliant.

“They observed social distancing and were calm, and if I’m honest seemed to be relaxed and happy to chat with neighbours they probably hadn’t seen for several weeks. Pickering’s awesome community spirit once again shone through.

“The mayor of Pickering Helen Rickard came down and had the glamorous job of washing up after we provided the residents with sandwiches and refreshments.”

Potter Hill Fish and Chip shop also provided bottles of water for the people who were evacuated due to the fire.

Cllr Andrews said: “The final residents were allowed back home at approximately 5.45pm.

“I did have offers from people to open their holiday accommodation up to anyone who may need somewhere to stay, but thankfully to the best of my knowledge no one’s houses were damaged.

“The memorial hall is an amazing asset to Pickering and we were just glad that we could provide a refuge for our residents at this dramatic time.”

Cllr Keane Duncan, leader of RDC, said: “This appears to have been a serious fire, and we’d like to thank the emergency services for everything they are doing to make the area safe.

“As it has been a busy bank holiday.

“We had a number of council officers on the ground, keeping an eye on some of Ryedale’s busiest areas. That meant we were able to get someone to the scene quickly to help support those who had been evacuated from their homes.”

A police spokesperson said that no-one had been injured in the incident and all those residents who were evacuated had returned to their homes.

They also thanked everyone for their patience during the incident.

A spokesperson for North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service said fire investigation officers were due to return to the scene yesterday (Tuesday) to start their investigations into the cause.