Inferno at Springfield
An inferno has destroyed Wolverhampton's historic Springfield Brewery, wiping out 131 years of history.
More than 100 firefighters from crews across the West Midlands and Staffordshire battled through the night in a bid to save the Grade II listed building.
Former workers watched in disbelief as the building - one of the city's most protected conservation sites - was burned down.
A rush of emergency calls was made shortly before 10pm last night after flames were spotted leaping through the roof of the Cambridge Street building.
Firefighters had to request the opening of an extra lock in the adjacent Birmingham canal to release more water to douse the flames.
Two crews from Wolverhampton initially attended but within thirty minutes 23 crews from across the region had been drafted in to fight the fire.
Three hydraulic platforms were erected as firefighters fought with plumes of smoke and flames shooting into the night sky.
The building had been redundant since 1991 and part of it was being used as a storage depot.
Planning permission was expected to be granted shortly to transform the 12-acre site into a residential development.
Acting spokesman, firefighter Mark Taylor, said it was unclear at this stage where the fire started, or what had caused it.
Crews were still at the scene this morning and Mr Taylor said they envisaged being there until tonight, and maybe into tomorrow.
"This is a very serious fire where we have had to call for support from crews across the whole of the West Midlands and Staffordshire," he said.
Crowds of people gathered in Cannock Road and Culwell Street to watch the inferno take hold.
Kim Guest, aged 48, of Springfield Road, said: "I can't believe it's gone up like it has. It's been part of the city's heritage for years and it's terrible for this to happen."
Today six crews were still at the site, and while most of the fire had been put out, parts of the building were still blazing.
A fire service spokeswoman said that 80 per cent of the parts of building was now unsafe and firefighters were unable to go back in.
She said that they were waiting for structural engineers from English Heritage to say whether crews could enter and make sure the fire was out completely.
In the meantime jets from two hydraulic platforms were being used to damp down the ruins of the brewery.
This morning new officers from Wolverhampton stations took over from their colleagues who had spent more than ten hours fighting the flames.
Representatives from Severn Trent Water were at the site to allow the opening of a lock to allow more water to douse the flames.
Building surveyors were also in attendance to monitor the collapse of structures within the desecrated site.