FIREFIGHTERS are damping down after flames ripped through a unit in Northwich town centre overnight.

The Guardian understands that temperatures climbed so high in the Tonerman building, in Queen Street, that it will take a further two days before any risk of fire is extinguished.

Eyewitnesses reported a noise like popping fireworks when the blaze broke out at around 11.15pm yesterday, Friday.

Residents were warned last night to return to their homes and shut their windows because of a risk of asbestos in the burning roof.

A resident from the neighbouring Naylor Court said: "It must have been around 11pm and I could hear what sounded like fireworks.

"I happened to look though the window and it was like a raging inferno."

More to follow.