STAFF at a brick factory engulfed by flames were back at work today after a "terrifying" blaze which is estimated to have caused thousands of pounds of damage.

Nearly 60 firefighters battled the blaze at Brick Fabrication on North Pontyool Industrial Estate on yesterday afternoon.

Fifty workers at a magnet company opposite the brickworks, Wiltan Ltd, were evacuated after 1.30pm.

Wiltan employee Mike Fowler, 33, said today: "It was terrifying. For safety reasons the fire brigade told us to evacuate, but we were OK."

His colleague Dean Davies, 31, said: "It was smoke first, then flames. Someone said there was an explosion.

"All the windows just went straight through."

Fire chiefs said the cause of the blaze was believed to be accidental and no one was injured.

An adjacent garage, called Pontypool Service Centre, lost around £10,000 of stock including tyres and equipment.

The centre will remain shut until Friday while staff partition a workshop hit by the blaze.

Garage manager Adrian Perrott, 58, said: "We've probably lost £10,000 of stock.

"A back wall will have to come down and a roof section has got to come off.

"I think we'll be all right. We were quite lucky. The most important thing of all is nobody was hurt.

"Buildings can be put back and things can be replaced. That was our main concern - Nobody was injured."

Today workers boarded up a section of the Brick Fabrication building damaged by the blaze.

Staff at the brick company on Estate Road were back at work but management declined to comment on the incident.