A huge fire on an industrial estate in Leeds has sent flames and a plume of smoke up over the city.

Around 80 firefighters tackled the blaze at Tradpak, a chemical packaging and recycling firm in Armley. City centre residents have been warned to keep windows and doors closed due to potentially hazardous chemicals on the site, which is close to the Leeds and Liverpool Canal and the River Aire.

Anja Swan, a student at Leeds Metropolitan University, said she heard explosions that sounded like thunder. “I called my friend and they said they could see a fire so we had a walk down. We could see massive, massive clouds of thick black smoke, just billowing out into the air. We could see this even from our house about half a mile or so away.

“There were fireballs shooting. It was really ferocious. Like Armageddon.”

Area fire manager Ian Dunkley, urged people not come to watch crews dealing with the fire, which has been “surrounded”. “The initial crews were trying to protect surrounding properties and, in fact, we've saved three surrounding businesses which will be available to open tomorrow,” he said.

Crews are expected to remain at the scene throughout the day.