Fire crews in Newcastle are battling a warehouse blaze in a desperate effort to avoid the next door fuel tank depot from exploding.

Emergency crews are in a tense race against time to stop a storage facility fire from setting off the explosion of a nearby fuel storage depot.

Dozens of firefighters and 30 trucks were called to the facility in Wickham, Newcastle, after a blaze surged through the business just after 2.30pm.

Giant plumes of smoke and flames were reportedly visible across the city, with deep concern an even bigger disaster could unfold if the fire reaches a fuel tank just metres away.

Workers at the “four-storey mega warehouse” have been evacuated, with crews also evacuating people from a surrounding exclusion zone.

The business, formerly a wool shed, backs onto an Ampol fuel storage business, which stores and distributes gasoline tanks.

NSW Fire and Rescue deployed more than one hundred firefighters to battle the blaze, burning through the warehouse on Annie Street.

Electrical and gas authorities were called in to isolate the utilities, with crews closely monitoring the Ampol terminal.

Locals with respiratory conditions have been told to stay inside and to seek medical assistance if they experience shortness of breath.

Residents in the area have also been encouraged to close their windows and doors to avoid smoke infiltrating their homes, and bring in clothing being dried outside.

According to locals, the warehouse was fit out almost entirely with timber.

Extracted in full from: Newcastle fuel tank depot metres from warehouse fire | — Australia’s leading news site