A police chief praised villagers evacuated from their homes threatened by a devastating blaze at an historic Pennine mill.

Flames consumed the derelict building only a few hundred yards from a small copse of detached, semi-detached homes and flats at Delph, Saddleworth.

No-one was hurt in the drama which saw teams of firefighters tackled the inferno.

Police evacuated some homes and roads were closed. Today several road blocks are still in place along Delph New Road and Huddersfield Road to Oldham.

Some of the roads remained closed this morning - adding to problems caused by hold-ups on the M62.

The incident happened around 3.20 pm when Bailey Mill, a landmark building near Delph crossroads, was shrouded in dense plumes of smoke which blanketed surrounding villages.

Pictures of the fire at Bailey Mill, in Delph, taken by Adrian Ashworth

The fire, fanned by the breeze, tore through the building, with violent,cracking explosions as timber beams and fixtures were consumed by the fire and internal walls collapsed.

Part of the mill’s corrugated roof was ripped off and one terrified passerby said:”The area looked like a war zone.”

The main A62 Oldham-Huddersfield Road had a police road block overnight.

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Insp Karen Taylor, from Royton who headed up the GMP operation said:”I have nothing but praise for the residents.

Fire at a derelict mill in the village of Delph, near Saddleworth

“They were marvellous. Not one of them complained and they were all very grateful to the emergency and support services.”

A fire brigade spokesman said: “The cause of the blaze is still under investigation .”