FIRE devastated the roof of a building at York Racecourse after a perimeter shed was engulfed by flames.

Bystanders at Knavesmire saw plumes of drifting black smoke and flames leaping from the roof of the single-storey brick building on the edge of the site.

Ground staff spotted the blaze at around 9.40am yesterday and raised the alarm.

By 10.30am, 999 crews had the blaze surrounded and firefighters used an aerial ladder as a water tower to damp down the hotspots.

James Brennan, head of marketing at the racecourse, stressed there had been no danger to the public and said racing at the course, which resumes next week, would not be affected.

He said the building, part of the workshop complex, was known as the Brew Room, where staff had a cup of tea.

He added: “No one was injured. The building was empty at the time.

“Inevitably, there will be some disruption because it is a building we use. But it is not a race-going facility.

“The season starts on May 14 and we are dusting ourselves down after this and looking forward to racing.”

North Yorkshire fire service said the fire was out shortly after 11am but crews remained in attendance for much of the morning to ensure it was fully out.

The cause is not currently clear. Other nearby sheds contain heavy-duty equipment such as joinery and tractor gear but this one was empty.