Firefighters tackle Birmingham blaze

More than 65 firefighters were today tackling a severe blaze at a factory unit just outside Birmingham city centre.

More than 65 firefighters were today tackling a severe blaze at a factory unit just outside Birmingham city centre.

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Police and fire crews were called out to Quality Lighting Design in Bridge Street, Newtown, at around 5.45am this morning.

Roads around the one storey factory unit were closed by police, including Bridge Street West, New John Street West, Hospital Street and Frankfort Street.

A 200 metre traffic cordon was also placed around the building with diversions in place for motorists and pedestrians.

Plumes of smoke could be seen from as far away as Erdington, while nearby home owners in the area were also advised by police to stay indoors and keep windows closed.

A number of schools were also forced to close because of the blaze, including St Chads Junior and Infant School and Brearley Street Nursery.

West Midlands Fire Service group commander Bill Gough said: "At the height of the fire, we had 10 appliances and 65 firefighters tackling the flames.

"The building has partially colapsed and it is severely damaged.

"There is a structural engineer  now taking a look to see if the building needs to be demolished or not."

Mr Gough said crews were now damping down the fire and making arrangements to make the building safe.

"We are disconnecting gas and power to the unit," he said. "We have not been able to get into the building as it is dangerous but we have started investigating into the cause of the fire.

"We are not able to get inside to extinguish all the flames.

"There were also acetylene cylinders inside so we had to be careful."

The cause of the fire is not yet known, West Midlands Fire Service confirmed.

As of 12noon, there were five crews, a hydralic platform and around 35 firefighters at the scene.

Police have now reopened Hospital Street and New John Street.