Plumes of thick black smoke were visible for miles after the fire broke out at the disused recycling plant in Sunderland around 6pm last night. More than 50 firefighters were called to Deptford Terrace to tackle what has been dubbed "the great fire of Sunderland". More than 20 remain on the scene this morning, Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service said, with no end in sight. A spokeswoman told Chronicle Live that crews were using water from the River Wear to extinguish the blaze. She said: "We are still there and I think we are going to be there through the day. "We have four pumping appliances - 24 firefighters - and two aerial platforms." The fire service urged people to avoid the area and advised residents to keep their windows and doors closed. Onlookers told how they could see the smoke from as far as Redcar, Hartlepool and Newcastle.