Smethwick factory destroyed in arson attack

Arsonists destroyed a factory building in a blaze that was fought by 55 firefighters at its height.

Firefighters look at the burned remains of the industrial unit in Smethwick which was targeted by arsonists
Firefighters look at the burned remains of the industrial unit in Smethwick which was targeted by arsonists

Eight crews from Birmingham and the Black Country battled the flames at the industrial unit in London Street, Smethwick, after witnesses spotted smoke billowing from the roof at 7pm last night.

The building had been empty for some time and was awaiting demolition.

Adrian Whitehouse, watch commander at Handsworth Fire Station was one of the first people to arrive at the scene.

He said: “We arrived and pulled up in the side road and the building was quite engulfed in smoke.

"We could see that the fire had broken through the roof and we decided to break in through a side door.

“We quickly realised that it would be best to tackle the fire from the other side of the building, but I knew we needed more resources to tackle the fire quickly and we called in the eight other pumps to help put out the blaze.

“Once they arrived we were able to bring the fire under control fairly quickly.”

One side of Grove Lane was closed to allow a high pressure pump and platform to be brought in to tackle the fire from above.

Steve Harris, duty incident commander said: “These are a vacant set of premises that are soon to be demolished.

“The fire has affected an area of 80 by 100 metres and there a number of seats of fire on the ground and upper floors.

“We arrived at around 7pm and were quickly able to assess the fire and bring it under control within half an hour.

“We are likely to have remain on site for another two hours to ensure the fire is properly out.”