A businessman has spoken of his devastation after fire tore though his taxi office in Castleford town centre on Sunday.
Shukrun Riaz, 24, owner of EuroCars on Bradley Street, said: “The fire has caused thousands of pounds worth of damage.
“I got a phone call at about 2.30pm saying there was smoke coming from the office. I came down and by the time I got here it was well alight.
“It’s devastating. We have another office at Xscape so we’re currently running the business from there.”
More than 40 firefighters were called to EuroCars booking office and repair garage at around 2.30pm.
Nearby shops were forced to close early as smoke billowed from the blaze and residents were evacuated from their homes for more than seven hours.
Roads surrounding the building and in the town centre, including Aire Street, were also closed as crews pumped water from the River Aire to tackle the blaze.
Eyewitness Sarah Parker, a shop assistant at Al Murad Decorating Centre, on Wesley Street, called the fire brigade after seeing the smoke coming from the building.
Ms Parker, 34, said: “You couldn’t see anything - there was smoke everywhere.
“Then at about 2.45pm the fire brigade came round and told us it was toxic and to get out as quick as we could.
“You could hear the gas canisters hissing and exploding inside the building.”
A furnishing shop next to the building was also heavily smoke-damaged and nearby businesses on Wesley Street were covered in oil and tar which had spread.
Engineers had to demolish the former chapel building from the first-floor upwards due to the damage caused by the fire.
DS Pete Whittam of Wakefield CID, said: “We are investigating the circumstances of this incident with fire service investigators and, while we are not currently treating it as suspicious, we have yet to establish a cause.
“For that reason I would appeal to anyone who has any information at all to contact us.”
Anyone who has information should contact DC 6318 Atkinson at Wakefield CID on 101.