A HUGE blaze ripped through a waste management depot in Weymouth - destroying bin lorries, sparking explosions and sending plumes of acrid smoke into the sky that could be seen for miles around.

Dorset Echo:

More than 90 firefighters from across the county were called to Crookhill depot, in Chickerell Road, as flames engulfed bin lorries on the site.

Dramatic footage captured by eyewitnesses showed thick clouds of smoke billowing from the burning site, as firefighters worked to contain the fire and stop flames spreading from the vehicles to buildings.

Read more: Fire breaks out at waste depot

Read more: Bin collections cancelled after huge fire at depot

Waste collections in Weymouth and Portland have now been suspended following the devastating blaze.

It's since been revealed that the cost of the damage has been put at around £3 million. See our story here

Dorset Echo:

Dorset & Wiltshire Fire & Rescue Service revealed it had received more than 50 999 calls after the blaze broke out just after 2pm yesterday.

Read more: Eyewitness reports from blaze at depot

A spokeswoman said: “We have been dealing with a significant fire at the council depot on Chickerell Road, Chickerell involving multiple vehicles.

Dorset Echo:

“Over 50 999 calls were received after the fire broke out shortly after 2pm yesterday, as plumes of black smoke were seen across the Weymouth area and a number of explosions were heard.

“As of 4pm, there were approximately 90 firefighters on site tackling the blaze, which affected multiple refuse lorries.

“There were 15 fire crews in attendance – from Weymouth, Portland, Bridport, Dorchester, Wareham, Charmouth, Poole, Beaminster, Lyme Regis, Sherborne, Swanage, Blandford and Hamworthy – together with aerial ladder platforms from Weymouth and Westbourne, water carriers from Poole and Yeovil, and support appliances from Poole, Hamworthy and Gillingham.

“Water supply was an issue, so the high volume pump from Christchurch was also deployed.

“The cause of the fire will be investigated once it is safe to do so.”

Dorset Echo:

Residents were advised to keep their doors and windows closed as a precaution while smoke rose from the site.

One eyewitness described how the dramatic scenes unfolded. He said: “I first saw the smoke outside my house in Chickerell after 2.30pm and I could tell this was a significant fire just from the thick black smoke. The strong winds were blowing it across Weymouth and towards the coast.

“There was also disruption in the area as police had shut Chickerell Road and an officer was directing traffic towards Hampshire Road.

“I heard a number of sporadic popping sounds but did not know what they were.

“All of a sudden, there was a loud bang which shocked people and motorists. I now understand this could have been caused by one of the vehicles.

“There were around three or four of these loud bangs. Each one seemed to come out of nowhere and make you jump.

“The police handled the road closure well and directed traffic away from the area. A police officer was only letting people go past the road closure if they lived nearby.

“I just hope no one is hurt."