A huge fire engulfed 5,000 tyres at a car garage today, with more than 70 firefighters brought in to tackle the blaze which wrecked the family-run business.
At its height, 12 fire crews from across the West Midlands were on site at SS Autocare on Willenhall Road in Wolverhampton, where the fire sent thick plumes of black smoke billowing into the sky.
The route had to be closed to traffic as firefighters brought the blaze under control.
Structural engineers were today examining the unit to see if any parts needed to be demolished.
Fire crews were called at 2.55am by passing police who had noticed smoke coming from the garage.
Within an hour the blaze had spread throughout most of the building, with flames breaking through the roof and leaping 20ft into the sky.
Firefighters broke into the property through shutters.
They pumped water from the nearby canal and an aerial platform was drafted in to tackle the fire from above.
It is not yet known what caused the fire and investigations will be carried out once the flames are out.
Mick Birch, operations commander at Walsall Fire Station, said: “It is a severe fire and the building is 100 per cent damaged.
“The crews had to work exceedingly hard to gain access and force entry to the building which was already severely damaged by the fire. It had broken through the roof early on and we believe there were about 5,000 tyres on fire.
“The cause is unknown at the stage but investigations will be carried out to find out what happened.”
The blaze was brought under control by about 5am and the charred shell of the building was still smouldering this morning.
Mr Birch said fire crews were expected to be at the scene throughout the day damping down and making sure the blaze did not break out again.
No-one was injured in the fire and there were no neighbouring businesses open at the time.
Owners Shaukat Khan, aged 62, and his 33-year-old son Shiraz Shoukat watched from across the road as the fire spread after being called by the fire service.
They were today left counting the cost of the damage at the garage, which they have run for a year.
Fire engines from as far away as Sutton Coldfield and Billesley were called to the scene, while an incident command unit was set up to organise the operation.