WATCH: Flats evacuated as flames engulf nearby derelict factory in Walsall
A huge fire gutted a derelict factory in Walsall causing 31 people from nearby flats to be evacuated from their homes.
Police and crews of firefighters were scrambled to the scene in Marsh Street at about 4.50pm today.
People ordered to leave their homes for safety were taken to the Town Hall, according to police.
Officers put a cordon in place as people gathered to watch the drama unfold.
A spokesman for West Midlands Fire and Rescue Service said they first received the call at 4.50pm.
Nine fire engines were sent to the scene, with a total of 45 firefighters tackling the blaze at its height.
West Midlands Police urged people to keep their distance and put cordons on nearby roads.
It was not clear tonight whether an investigation into the cause of the blaze would be launched.
The derelict factory was an old leatherworks called Greatrex House.
Planning permission was granted last year for 220 apartments to be built on the site, with a building due to be knocked down.
Deputy leader of Walsall Council, Adrian Andrew, said: “It’s disappointing to see this happen because of the impact on emergency services and the residents living here.
“It was going to come down anyway, but this is not the way you want it to happen.
“Thirty-one people were evacuated from nearby flats, and if they can’t go back to their homes the council will put them up in a hotel.
“The council will do everything it can to help.”
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