A fire ripped through a Copart UK site in Purdeys Way, Rochford, Essex, at around 9 pm on Friday night (11 August), destroying 200 cars.
Around 60 firefighters were called to the scene and battled the blaze for more than 12 hours.
The fire was brought under control at around 11 am on Saturday, but crews remained on site to dampen down the flames.
The cause of the fire is not yet known, but an investigation is underway.
Resident Dinah Symonds told the BBC she was awoken by explosions and feared the flames would spread towards her home. She said,
“That’s what really concerned us more than anything else, but it was quite spectacular.”
The site is operated by Copart UK, which is due to have a sale on Monday.
It is not yet known if any of the vehicles up for auction tomorrow were destroyed in the blaze.
However, around 10% of the vehicles at the scrapyard were wiped out, with Essex County Fire and Rescue Service saying there were 2,000 cars at the site.
A spokesman for the scrapyard said the cause of the fire would be investigated “once safe to do so”.
According to its latest accounts on Companies House for the year ending July 31, 2022, Copart had a turnover of £ 189.9 million and made an operating profit of £ 58.8 million.
The firm has sites in 15 UK towns and cities, as well as in Germany, Spain, and Finland.
A fire service spokesperson said during the incident:
“Nearby residents are being advised to close their windows.
‘The cars are stacked in rows of three storeys. Firefighters have the fire contained and have created a fire break to stop the fire spreading to the remaining cars.”