NEIGHBOURS have spoken of the moment a huge fire involving a garage and cars started in Newport, causing disruption and evacuations.

Firefighters tackled the blaze in Ringwood Avenue, Ringland, for around four hours on Thursday evening near the former Bishpool Dairy site.

South Wales Fire and Rescue Service (SWFRS) said the fire, which saw several cars set alight, is being treated as deliberate.

Gwent Police said no arrests have been made.

Five households were evacuated from their homes after the blaze started at around 5.40pm, while water supplies were also hit.

Linda Webber, 59, one of those evacuated, said the flames could be seen above the fir trees separating the properties.

“I’m just glad it did not get as far as the house,” said Mrs Webber, of Bishpool Lane.

“I was concerned because the things that were exploding were being thrown into the air.”

Mrs Webber said the former dairy has fallen prey to damage by youths over previous months, including car windows at the site being smashed.

With her husband, David, Mrs Webber ended up spending the evening in the Man of Gwent pub until they could return home around 10.15pm.

She added: “We did not know how close it was to our house at first so it was a bit worrying.

“One of the firefighters said you need to move back there are gas tanks exploding.”

Stacey Bishop, of Ringwood Place, said the blaze erupted within minutes.

She said: “One minute it looked like a garden fire and then the next thing we knew it got massive and started making popping noises.

“We were told by the police to stay indoors and close the windows and doors.”

Gemma Appleby, 36, of Ringwood Place, described black smoke 20-feet high.

She said: “I went outside for a cigarette and it was full ablaze.

“There was black smoke, hissing noises and bangs.”

Tom Hole, 21, said he and his mother were evacuated and had to stay at his sister’s house until they could return home at around 11pm.

Two fire engines were sent, with crews using two water tanks, two breathing apparatus and an aerial appliance to extinguish the blaze.

The stop message was received at around 9.30pm.

Several neighbours reported that their water turned a brown colour after the fire.

Welsh Water said up to around 540 properties could have been affected.

A spokesman said the discolouration was not unusual after such an incident and expected it to clear in a short period of time.

The road was closed to traffic while firefighters battled the blaze.

South Wales fire said a reinspection of the property was carried out yesterday morning and it was deemed safe to re-enter.

A spokesman said the fire involved outbuildings and a garage used for storage.