Day turned into night across parts of Milton Keynes on Wednesday afternoon as a huge fire engulfed a warehouse in Newport Pagnell.
More than 50 firefighters tackled what was described as one of the most significant fires in the city in recent years.
Fire crews from as far as Buckingham and Aylesbury were drafted in to tackle the blaze at the Liebherr refrigeration plant in Renny Park Road.
Eye-witnesses described hearing a massive explosion shortly before 2pm, followed by flames three storeys high and plumes of smoke billowing for miles around.
Nearby residents were told to keep doors and windows shut as the smoke blew in a north-easterly direction towards Olney.
Within minutes the result of the blast could be seen in Central Milton Keynes.
The cause of the fire is not yet confirmed, but firefighters say the warehouse was packed full of fridges and freezers, as well as office supplies.
An eyewitness, walking through the town, said: “I just went for a walk with husband and happened upon it on our route – must have been not long after it started. By the time we got to London Road, you could feel the heat of the flames which were way above the rooftops.”
Bucks Fire and Rescue commander Mick Osborne said: “In recent years this is one of the largest fires we’ve had to deal with. They’re not uncommon, but thankfully they’re not that common.”
Another witness described seeing workers evacuate the warehouse, visibly upset by what they had seen. The cause of the fire is not yet known.
People living in nearby houses watched on in disbelief as the fire quickly took hold of the site and several roads in the area were closed by police.
One resident said: “I live in the area and my mate phoned me up to say ‘you’ve got to see this fire’ so I rushed back. It’s incredible. It’s a miracle there is nobody hurt.”