A severe fire has ripped through a building of a former school in Tong.

Fire crews were called to a two-floor school building at Yorkshire Martyrs Catholic College, Westgate Hill Street, just after 3.40pm today.

Andy Farrell, group manager at West Yorkshire Fire Service, who was a former student at Yorkshire Martyrs, said: “The fire looked pretty severe when we got here. There was a lot of smoke coming out of the building.

“The building had the potential of asbestos, given its age. But we have been informed that most of the asbestos has been stripped out.”

A cause of the fire has yet to be established, with fire investigation teams on-site tonight and police expected to be at the scene tomorrow morning.

Eight engines were called to the blaze, including fire crews from Bradford, Odsal, Idle and Fairweather Green.

Three crews were expected to be damping down the fire throughout tonight.

Police and ambulance response vehicles were also at the scene.

Mr Farrell said the fire was thought to have started on the first floor and had the potential to spread.

“The fire has done ten per cent damage to the whole school. It is a large site,” he added.

Police were controlling traffic on Tong Street as emergency vehicles parked up on site to tackle the fire.

Yorkshire Martyrs Catholic College closed its doors to students in July 2010 after 49 years.

Tong High School, which is on the same site, was unaffected by the blaze.