Huge blaze at Carvers building supplies in Wolverhampton

Carvers Building Supplies in Wolverhampton has been devastated by a huge blaze.

Buildings were evacuated, roads closed and trains stopped after flames engulfed the 116-year-old firm.

Enormous plumes of acrid smoke and 20ft flames could be seen for miles around as 100 firefighters were drafted in from across the region.

The fire started at around 11.40am in the timber area of the warehouse, with flames spreading to the roof within minutes. A total of 200 staff and 20 customers fled as firefighters and ambulance crews rushed to the scene.

Carvers Building Supplies in Wolverhampton was devastated by a huge blaze.

Buildings were evacuated, roads closed and trains stopped after flames engulfed the 116-year-old firm.

Enormous plumes of acrid smoke and 20ft flames could be seen for miles around as 100 firefighters were drafted in from across the region.

The fire started at around 11.40am in the timber area of the warehouse, with flames spreading to the roof within minutes.

A total of 200 staff and 20 customers fled as firefighters, police and ambulance crews rushed to the scene. The workers then stood by in tears and watched as their workplace and parked cars went up in flames.

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  • Five page of reports and pictures in Wednesday's Express & Star

Explosions were heard at 12.30pm as the roof collapsed in on itself and small gas canisters stored at the site started to explode. The Little’s Lane business is also home to two huge propane gas storage tanks and this afternoon emergency workers were trying to stop the fire from spreading to them.

They enforced a 660ft cordon around the area as the flames began to encroach towards the main tanks at around 12.40pm.

Both Carvers and 700 students from the £40 million high-rise student village, Victoria Halls, were evacuated, along with scores of homes, Carvers Cooker Centre, Woden Primary School and the Maltings Mobility Centre. Students and staff at Heath Park Business & Enterprise College were also put on lockdown.

Residents were told to keep their windows closed as a precautionary measure in case of toxic smoke.

Managing director Henry Carver fought back tears after he told staff to go home. He told the Express & Star he had been the last to leave the building after checking everyone was out.

The father of three said: “We can take a little bit of happiness in that no one has died. We now have no records or anything. The firefighters came quickly within five minutes. We are very sad, I’m sad for everybody. It happened somewhere around the timber area. It just went up so quickly.”

The police helicopter hovered above the scene providing live images to assist officers in the force’s on site mobile control room. Firefighters took water from the nearby Birmingham Canal to douse the factory.

But this afternoon, the roof was completely caved in and one side of the 200m by 600m warehouse was completely destroyed. Thick black smoke continued to billow from the site.

Sgt Nick Walton, from Bilston Street police station, said: “Our presence here at the moment is very much to do with public safety and helping the fire service contain the blaze.”

No one was hurt in the fire.

Click on the image on the right to see more pictures from the blaze.

Comments for: "Huge blaze at Carvers building supplies in Wolverhampton"

sisterdora

What an awful blow to the Carver family, the employees and the city.

Sympathies to all those involved and as always, hats off to the local emergency services guys and gals out there.

jason.s

Sorry to see such a historic wolverhampton landmark go up like that,i hope that carvers rises from the ashes and is once again trading.Long live carvers!

sisterdora

Correct me if I am wrong but I think Carvers was based in the old Low Level Station Engine Sheds so we have not only lost a premier Wolverhampton firm but also a piece of the town's railway history. So sad, so sorry.

Chris E

Horrific to see a legacy destroyed. Have faith in Mr Carver to come back as strong as ever.

MIKE POOLE

It was the former GWR goods warehouse. So sorry for all workers and owners. We should all set out to buy something from there when they get set up again and this will help their cash flow in these difficult times.

John

So sad to see Carvers go up like this. They have really been one of Wolverhampton's lifelines in terms of business and employment not to mention all the support Carvers has given to various projects and events over the years. I hope they can bounce back from this - I shudder to think what the knock-on effect will be like to other businesses in Wolves.

PezaWWFC

Tragic!!!!

If I would ever be asked to name a business in Wolverhampton the first one to always come to mind would be Carvers. Carvers is Wolverhampton and the City and it's public must do everything they can to get it back on it's feet.

Sir Jack Hayward your city needs you.....

Good luck to everyone associated with Carvers.

ken

i live a few streets away from cavers and it sounded like a war zone

Johnny English

To start with I must say that the events today must be devastating to Carvers and particularly to Henry Carver. The firm and Mr Carver have my greatest sympathy in their time of need and have carried my utmost respect over the years.

Having said all that the City Council must take steps to ensure that this disaster is turned into an opportunity. I truly hope that somebody is even now looking for an appropriate site for the new Carvers, in a place where the LPG and timber storage is better sited. I also hope that somewhere in the council somebody is looking at this disaster and trying to work out how the site could be best used in the future.

The site, bounded by the Ring road, Stafford street and Cannock Road is prime for development. Other than Carvers there are few houses or businesses there and the site should not be left to stay fallow for too long. Maybe this is where there can be a new Business Quarter ? More city-centre housing and leisure facilities maybe ?

It's worth thinking about.

Out of Darkness Cometh Light.

Bert Wiser

Lets not shed a tear for a shed. Make the future happen.

Prime for Development by Wolverhampton University for its new science labs, the new Youth Centre, a purpose built Carver's showroom and Mr L's sport ground. Deal in the bag!

Business, houses, leisure and education! What more can we ask of out leaders. Oh yes a training ground for Wolves near to Molineux

Lets get the Wolves constructors in on the deal and Wolverhampton will be a better place! Done deal

Most opportune, Up the Wolves.

Out of misfortune comes opportunity - Ferengi rule of business

Bobwolf101

Well perhaps the old Focus store maybe bought back in use by Carvers - the council should seek this immediately while Carvers seeks to recover from this nasty event.

If he has as many staff as the E$S suggests wouldn't take em long to get it sorted - perhaps a week or two.

Singh

So sad....absolutely devastating! I don't live in Wolverhampton anymore, but memories of going there with my dad and family as a child, came flooding back when I heard of this. To see the images is just awful. I personally wish it could be restored back to exactly the way it was. I would hate to see Carvers be relocated elsewhere and one of these rubbish so called "modern" (I.e plastic, grey, plaster board, dull) buildings being erected there instead.

annie

As much as this is a tragedy, it must now be looked at as an opportunity; Having been on that site for 115 years it was clearly ill-positioned for today's lorries and it's ingress and egress caused problems on St Patrick's ring-road; There are a number of sites around the city centre that can be accommodative to a new Carvers far quicker than that site on Littles lane; Moving Carvers to say the numerous supermarket sites that will never be built makes sense (The Peel Centre, The Royal, the old Blakemore Site, along with the site at the junction of the Ring-road and Willenhall Rd), to name but a few; Then the greatest development opportunity of a generation appears,build a NEW RAIL-STATION/BUS/COACH STATIONS at the Craver/coach station sites; NOW is the time for local politicians and Council Officers to stand up and be counted; As funding for a hugely expensive rebuild of the current rail station is never going to happen, building one at Littles lane would cost half the amount and give 8-10 platforms and be far more palliative to national interests; Why you ask? Building on live rail lines is hugely expensive and time consuming; I have drafted a plan for the station to be built off-track at the Carver site(the current lines allow for this as they bend at that point anyway) and then a coach and bus stations to the west on the same land; The cost in today's money would be around £100m for the basic build (add in dedicated walkways and maybe a tram link made another £30m), about half rebuilding costs of the current station and of course there would be no disruption to train services; If someone at the council and Centro does not look at this option seriously, then they are being negligent in their duties and will have condemned Wolverhampton to further national decline in influence;