DOZENS of firefighters were today battling a massive blaze that ripped through a giant Hampshire warehouse.

Huge black clouds filled the skyline above Eastleigh as flames leapt hundreds of feet into the air.

A full scale emergency swung into action at 11.46am and 20 fire engines and two aerial ladders sped to the scene at Import Services Contract Logistics (UK) Limited on the Tower Lane Industrial Estate at Bishopstoke.

It is not believed that anyone is trapped in the building which has been evacuated.

Up to 80 firefighters were involved in tackling the blaze which threatened to close Southampton International Airport.

A Hampshire Fire and Rescue spokesman said: "It is 300 metres by 200 metres and 70 per cent is well alight. There is a massive column of smoke pouring from the blazing warehouse, which is close by the railway line."

Police have cordoned off the area to stop people getting to the scene while traffic in Eastleigh ground to a standstill.

The building is used for general storage including highly flammable items like propane gas and cigarette lighters.

It is believed to be one of the biggest fires to have ever hit Eastleigh. Flames and smoke were visible from Fareham in the east to Marchwood in the west.

Lee Peck, of the Chilworth based publicity firm LeePeckGreenfield, said: "We are two miles away. We can see the flames going 100 yards into the air.

Southampton Institute lecturer Gary Edwards said he could see the smoke out of his office window in the centre of Southampton.

"There is a plume of black smoke, it's stretching as high as the clouds and about 50ft wide. It really looks quite serious."