In January 1976 a disastrous fire in the Blue Cross Mill, where the animal feed was stored, caused £500,000 worth of damage. All production was stopped temporarily for safety reasons.
The top two floors were destroyed and the whole building was almost lost.
Two thirds of the Tyne and Wear Fire Brigade spent over 24 hours damping down the fire. Dried blood from the animal feed was kept on the top floor of the building and when the fireman tackled this area with their hoses it looked as if the walls were bleeding.
It was the beginning of the end of the mill.
In the years following the fire, falling sales caused redundancies. The last 170 workers lost their jobs when the Baltic Flour Mill finally closed in November 1982.
The silo stayed open until Spring 1984 to hold an EEC grain mountain.