More than 50 firefighters spent their Christmas tackling a major fire in the centre of Bradford.

Ten crews from West Yorkshire Fire Service, including eight large jets and two aerial platforms, were scrambled to the scene after a converted mill building on Thornton Road burst into flames at around 4pm on Christmas Eve.

Roads around the scene were closed into Christmas Day and eye-witnesses described flames leaping 30ft into the air at its height.

Three crews and an aerial platform stayed at the scene overnight to secure the scene, close to the junction with Preston Street.

Fire chiefs say it is too early to know what started the blaze but a major probe is expected to be launched in the coming days.

One eyewitness, who asked not to be named, said: “About five fire engines came out of nowhere. I could see flames leaping into the air. The whole sky was lit up.

“Within minutes police vans had put a perimeter around the scene.”

A spokesman for Bradford fire station said there was sheet metal in the building which was still very hot after the fire, so around 15 firefighters were continuing to cool it down.

Fire service investigators and police were likely to look into the cause after the fire had been dealt with.

Assessment of any structural damage to the building was also expected to take place.

A spokesman said: “They did well to get it under control so early. It was confined to quite a small area”

Traffic was being diverted away from the fire on Christmas Eve, creating a build-up of traffic in the area. Thornton Road was still closed around the mill yesterday as crews continued to damp down.

The blaze was believed to have started in a business called Enviro Office Furniture. The nearby Mill nightclub is also believed to have been affected by water damage.