A CANNABIS factory was found after a blaze ripped through a former Raventhorpe auction house.
The Huddersfield Road building, empty for the last two years, went up in flames at around 5.45pm last Sunday afternoon.
Its roof was destroyed and a retaining wall next to an alleyway suffered major damage. Cannabis plants and equipment were later found by fire investigators at the former Dewsbury Auctions premises.
Fire crews from Dewsbury and Mirfield and an aerial unit from Huddersfield attended after smoke was seen billowing from the two-storey building. Officers from Batley Fire Station provided night cover and crews remained at the scene until midnight. Many windows were bricked up, which sealed the building and caused flames to spread. Huddersfield Road towards Mirfield was closed until Monday afternoon at the Ravensthorpe Gyratory. There were long tailbacks towards Dewsbury. Diversions were put in place along Calder Road and Netherfield Road.
Dewsbury Auctions was set up by Oscar Crow in 1947 and run by his family until two years ago. Ravensthorpe firm Hutchinson Demolition helped save the building, which current owner Mohammed Bashir wants to rebuild.
It was believed the property was due to be rented out within the next two months.
Dewsbury Fire Station watch commander Richard Carr said: “It was a severe fire and all the building was involved. There was lots of thick black smoke and flames were coming through the roof. Debris was falling from the roof so it got quite difficult to tackle. The best option was to tackle it from the outside.
“There was an exposure risk to the residential properties, so we either had to tell people to close their windows or evacuate them.”
Police enquiries are continuing. Anyone with information can call the Dewsbury and Mirfield NPT on 101.
Photo by Ash Milnes