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Leeds fire: Emergency crews tackle city centre blaze

Fire crews in Leeds tackled a large blaze in a city centre building on Saturday night.

It broke out on the top floors of a derelict high rise building in Cookridge Street, near the city's Millennium Square, at about 19:50 BST.

A number of nearby pubs and restaurants were evacuated, the fire service said.

Ten fire engines worked to extinguish the blaze and a safety cordon was put in place as the fire service said the structure was "potentially unsafe".

Student, Will Dunaway, 18, said he had just left a restaurant on nearby Oxford Place with his family when he saw the fire.

"Whatever it was that was on fire it looked like it was the top part that was on fire, the bottom part looked pretty intact.

"There was a lot of crackling and some explosions, like a popping sound.

"Nobody appeared to be in any danger as far as I could tell."

West Yorkshire Fire Service said the police, ambulance service and a specialist response team were also on the scene.

At the scene - Tom Airey, BBC Yorkshire
It's a busy Saturday night in central Leeds, with the nearby 02 Academy bustling with people for the annual Live at Leeds music festival.

Millennium Square has been taken over by fire engines, with police tape blocking off several streets.

The area smells strongly of burning plastics, with a hose on an aerial platform dousing flames in a building next to Leeds City Museum.

Leeds City Council leader James Lewis said the fire was in the Leonardo building, a former council property sold to developers which currently lies empty.

He said he understood the fire service had managed to contain it so that it did not spread to neighbouring buildings.

"I'm hugely thankful for the quick response from the fire service, they stopped it becoming a much more serious and destructive fire.

"I'm sure it was very worrying for people nearby.

"Certainly it was a very serious incident and had the fire service not reacted so quickly, it could have been much more devastating," he said.