NORTH Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service today said its welfare unit did attend the blaze at a B&M store in York to provide refreshments for exhausted firefighters.

The service was reacting to criticism of McDonald's staff for reportedly not offering free cups of tea and coffee to members of the emergency services as they fought the huge fire at the B&M store in Clifton Moor.

McDonald's has since apologised to firefighters for not offering them free drinks.

A spokesperson for the fire service said: "North Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service has a welfare unit which provides refreshments to our firefighters at large incidents and this (welfare unit) did attend the incident at Clifton Moor, York on Saturday evening.

"The service takes the welfare of staff at incidents seriously and does not have a policy of requesting free refreshments from other businesses.

"We would like to thank the members of the public and local businesses for their patience and assistance during this incident, particularly as we needed to close the A1237.

"We have no comment to make on the statements made on social media by members of the public, about McDonald's."

Mystery still surrounds the cause of the fire, and an investigation to determine how it started is ongoing.

"The incident remains open at this time, and crews are conducting revisits to dampen down hotspots," the spokesperson said.

"There is a likely to be a smell of smoke in the area for some time, so local residents and businesses may still want to keep doors and windows closed."

A spokeswoman for B&M said the store was "safely evacuated" after the fire broke out.

"We’re grateful for the emergency services teams who worked through the night to extinguish the fire," the spokeswoman said.

“Unfortunately the store was severally damaged, we’re now working closely with the landlords to assess the next steps."

Staff from the store have been "temporarily transferred" to the new B&M store on Foss Island Retail Park, the spokeswoman confirmed.