A HUGE blaze at an industrial estate today was sparked by multiple gas cylinders exploding into 'significant fireballs'.

Buildings were evacuated and a police cordon put in place in Nuffield Way, Abingdon, as firefighters battled the fire which started about 8.30am at Zirotec - a ceramic coating manufacturer for vehicles.

At its height, eight crews of about 50 firefighters were tackling the blaze plus police and ambulances were also on scene.

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The fire service is now scaling its operations back, and police reopened the road about 3pm allowing businesses back in.

The fire started about 8.30am this morning and caused a huge plume of smoke to billow across the town.

A spokesman for Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service said the fire 'involved multiple cylinders' holding various gases such as Liquid Nitrogen, Argon, and Acetylene. 

The spokesman added that some of these cyclinders 'vented-off' causing 'significant fireballs'.

The fire service said the cylinders are now being monitored.

Oxford Mail:

Picture by J&N Car Sales

South Central Ambulance Service said its crews did not treat any patients but its Hazardous Area Response Team was on site, as well as an ambulance and two senior officers.

In a further tweet at 11.30am, SCAS said: "Our firefighter colleagues have almost extinguished the blaze now & we are pleased to report there have been no casualties."

Oxford Mail:

Pictures by Ross Corrigan

Emergency services advised motorists to avoid Abingdon if they could, due to the disruption caused by the closures.

Oxfordshire County Council also warned of the smoke blowing across the A34, although it remained open.

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Thames Valley Police posted on its South and Vale Facebook page at 10.45am, stating: "Officers are on scene and supporting Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service following a fire at an industrial estate in Nuffield Way, Abingdon.

"A cordon is in place, road closures and a number of buildings have been evacuated.

"The public are asked to avoid the area whilst the fire service deal with the fire."

Video by J&N Car Sales

In a post on the Abingdon Facebook page, one man said: "There was some loud cracks and bangs, not sure what it was but it went from nothing....To a bit of smoke, to that plume and sirens in a couple of minutes."

Video by Ross Corrigan

Ross Corrigan, who was passing at the time, told the Oxford Mail: "There were many people close by that had been evacuated from the surrounding buildings.

"I believe it is all under control now as I can’t see the thick black smoke anymore."

Oxford Mail:

Picture by J&N Car Sales

One woman, also commenting on Facebook, said four ambulances remained on the road at 9.45am and the cordon been extended.

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A police spokesman confirmed that the fire is not being treated as arson at this stage. The fire and Rescue investigation is ongoing.