Plumes of black smoke can be seen in the surrounding area following the break out of a blaze at a workshop at Medina Yard.
Homes and businesses are being evacuated and cordons set up amid fears of explosion.
A tactical advisor from the mainland is on scene alongside crews from Newport, Ryde, East Cowes, Cowes and Shanklin, including two aerial appliances and support vehicles.
The Cowes floating Bridge and the Red Funnel ferry have been suspended as a result of the fire.
This exclusive photograph (right) shows the moment the fire started to engulf the yard.
The blaze is understood to have started in TJ Motors, a motor car workshop. The cause is currently unknown.
Cowes Carnival – who had volunteers working inside their unit when the fire began – say they have lost everything.
Nearby roads have been closed.
The incident is likely to remain ongoing for several hours.
UPDATE @ 14:05 – Four appliances from Hampshire Fire Service are en-route to the Island to support the Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service in providing fire cover.
GKN Aerospace in East Cowes has been evacuated as crews continue to battle against the flames.
At least one boat undergoing restoration has been destroyed.
The Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service say the fire covers some 100mx100m.
UPDATE @ 15:00 – Firefighters continue to battle the fire, which has been contained.
Roads remain closed and homes remain evacuated.
A statement from the Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service has been requested.
UPDATE @ 15:30 – Jeff Walls, senior duty officer for the Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service has confirmed that air support from the National Police Air Service helicopter has been requested to take thermal images of the scene from above.
Around 40 businesses are located within the yard, however not all have been affected by the fire.
“We were called around 12:40 to a car on fire on a ramp in a unit off Bridge Road. We responded initially with two appliances but it became apparent quickly that we were going to need more resources. We now have 7 appliances and two aerial appliances on scene as well as a command unit.
“Several cylinders have been located and this is an additional hazard to us trying to fire fight, especially acetylene. As a result we have had to defensively fire fight.
“The fire is largely surpressed. We are monitoring the cylinders with thermal imaging cameras and it is those cylinders which have led to the evacuation of quite a wide area of Cowes.
“We have liased with our colleagues at emergency management and have set up a temporary place of shelter at the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club. That’s for people who have been evacuated from the local area.
“We have the HART (Hazardous Area Resoonse Team) team over from the mainland. We have also worked with our partners in Hampshire to bring three appliances over to back up resources on the Island”.
The Red Funnel ferry from East Cowes to Southampton has now resumed a normal service.
UPDATE @ 16:50 – The cordon surrounding the incident is to be reviewed at 17:00, according to Dean Hayward, group manager for the Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service.
The officer says crews will remain in attendance throughout the night ahead of a joint operation with Police to determine the exact cause of the blaze.
Island Echo understands a vehicle was being worked on when the fire began. It is thought fuel was involved.
An Ambulance Officer from Isle of Wight NHS Trust has been on the scene liaising with the other emergency services.
No Isle of Wight emergency ambulances or patient transport vehicles have been deployed to the scene. However the Trust requested support from the Hazardous Area Response Team (HART) based at South Central Ambulance Service on the mainland. HART are supporting the Fire and Rescue Services at the scene.
Local residents in the Cowes and East Cowes area have been advised to stay indoors and keep their windows and doors closed. Individuals needing urgent medical advice should ring 111.
Two individuals referred themselves to the Emergency Department at St. Mary’s Hospital reportedly suffering from smoke inhalation. They have been treated and discharged.
An emergency helpline has been set up for residents of Thetis Road to call: 01983 823407
Further updates on the incident will be provided to affected residents at the Temporary Place of Shelter as it becomes available.
It is understood several boats have been destroyed as well as cars and buildings.
Fire crews are to remain on scene for several hours.
UPDATE @ 18:45 – The fire has been brought under control. Thetis Road residents are advised to return to their homes, by foot, as the road remains closed.
Crews from Hampshire are now on the scene to relieve some of the Island’s firefighters who have been battling the blaze for over 6 hours.
The Cowes Floating Bridge has resumed a normal service.
UPDATE @ 22:20 – The incident has now been scaled back, however firefighters remain at Medina Yard cooling down cylinders and damping down the charred remains.
10 breathing apparatus, 8 jets and 6 hose reels have been utilised this evening.
Tonight the community of Cowes are wondering what is next with many businesses now without a home and the livelihoods of many in the balance.
UPDATE TUESDAY @ 08:20 – An investigation is due to get underway this morning to determine the exact cause of yesterday’s blaze, which has destroyed livelihoods and precious, irreplaceable boats.
Fire crews from Hampshire Fire Service have now returned to the mainland having supported the Island’s crews during one of the biggest fires in many years.
Rapanui, the Island’s eco clothing company, say they have lost contents inside their building on Bridge Road. In a tweet last night they said:
“Team safe and well, building just about standing but contents gone”.
3 fire appliances remain on the scene this morning.
Winds are expected to pick up as the afternoon progresses, so it is likely that crews will remain on site to ensure that any further flare ups are effectively managed. An Aerial Ladder Appliance is in attendance.
Fire Investigation crews are on site and will undertake investigations alongside Police throughout the day.
Thetis Road remains closed and cordons remain in place on Bridge Road and access roads to the site.
Members of the public are advised to stay away from the site.