Firefighters tackling a huge blaze at a west Cumbrian synthetic turf factory are continuing to bring it under control this morning.

Police have also said they are investigating the blaze which gutted SIS Pitches' base at Maryport's Glasson Industrial Estate.

The A596 is closed from Flimby to Maryport.

Emergency services were called out at 1.30pm yesterday.

A police spokesman said: "Emergency services are continuing to tackle a fire at Glasson Industrial Estate in Maryport.

"Members of the public are advised to keep their windows closed due to the level of smoke."

A statement released by SIS Pitches said: "No individuals were injured in the blaze and there are ongoing police investigations into the cause of the fire.

"The nearby factory, which produces the synthetic pitches, has been unaffected and will continue production as normal."

Bryn Lee, managing director of SIS Pitches, said: "Our highest priority is the safety and well being of our staff and those within the vicinity of the fire and we are thankful that nobody has been injured.

"We pride ourselves on our excellent safety procedures and will be carrying out a full investigation into the cause of the fire.

"The incident was contained within one facility and all other SIS Pitches facilities are in full operation."

Police evacuated nearby offices as crews from eight fire engines and an aerial ladder platform tackled the blaze.

Traffic is being diverted and the only way for traffic to get to Workington from Maryport is currently the Dearham road.

Traffic is backed up in Broughton Moor and Seaton.

One driver said: "It took me an hour and 45 minutes to pick my son up from Netherhall School! Our back roads can't cope with the amounts of traffic being pushed around them."

Trains on the west coast line have been cancelled and Stagecoach diverted its 30 and 31 services through Seaton and did not go via Flimby.

This evening Workington MP Sue Hayman praised the emergency response.

She said: "I am shocked to hear about the huge blaze in Maryport this afternoon and wanted to thank the Fire Service and Cumbria Police for their fantastic efforts in tackling the blaze and keeping people safe."

At 5.10pm, spokesman for Cumbria Fire and Rescue said: "Firefighters are continuing to tackle the blaze. This incident is expected to continue for some time."

A passer-by at the scene said: "It looks as though rolls of artificial turf have gone up in flames and it spread really quickly. The wind has fanned the flames.

"Lots of units nearby are in danger. The heat is unbelievable.

"Fire trucks are having trouble getting to the fire and are looking for a way to get water there."

Fire engines were going to the harbour to fill up with water to fight the flames.

Workers from Fearons Builders, which is based next to SIS, were called to the scene by fire chiefs to move fuel stored at its premises.

Emergency services are still advising anyone downwind of the smoke plume to stay indoors and keep windows closed.

Jacqui Towers, of Grasslot Street, said she has had her windows and doors shut all afternoon.

She said: "The fire was just a couple of hundred of yards from where I live. The smoke was unbelievable. It is a terrible thing."

Smoke from the blaze could be seen in Workington, Cockermouth and Great Broughton and reports are coming in that it could be seen from Whitehaven, the Greenbank estate and St Bees.

Schoolchildren at the nearby Grasslot Infant School were sent home at 2.20pm.

Headteacher Karen Loudon said: "Although there was no threat to the school, children were getting upset and with roads closing we thought it was wise to close the school."

A police statement said: "The A596 has been closed between Flimby and Maryport.

"Local diversions are being put in place including on a back road via Flimby, Broughton Moor and the A594.

"Nearby buildings have been or are in the process of being evacuated.

"Members of the public are asked to stay away from the area at this time and those in the Maryport area are asked to keep their windows closed due to the level of smoke."

Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service said: "Eight fire engines and an aerial ladder platform have been called to the scene which is a building fire.

"The building, used for manufacturing synthetic turf, measures 40m x 50m and is heavily involved in fire. Firefighters are tackling the blaze using main jets."

Jim McBride, of Wigton, described seeing flames "100ft to 150ft in the air".

"I'm sat on Mote Hill and the flames are level with me," he said.

"There's a thick black pall of smoke and it looks like several units are alight."

It is not known if anyone has been injured.

Emergency services received a call at 1.30pm.

Allerdale council scheduled a training session for the volunteers who man polling stations during an election at 4pm at the Wave Centre in Maryport.

Some of the trainees have arrived, while Allerdale council staff are stuck in traffic.