Pictured: Smoke engulfs Liverpool city centre with building in danger of collapse

Smoke billowing from a building with the Liver Building seen along the city waterfront
Smoke billowing from a building with the Liver Building seen along the city waterfront

Hundreds of people have been evacuated from their homes after a major incident was declared following a huge fire in Liverpool city centre.

Firefighters were called to a blaze in a four-storey warehouse on an industrial estate shortly after 2pm on Saturday.

With the building showing signs of collapse, according to Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service, nearby homes and other buildings were evacuated.

Smoke could be seen billowing into the sky from across the city and as far away as the Wirral, nearly eight miles away.

A cordon was put in place around the building and the wider area, with nearby roads closed.

At 4pm, the fire was declared to be a major incident but there were no reports of casualties.

Smoke could be seen over Goodison Park as Everton prepared to play Luton Town in the FA Cup
Smoke could be seen over Goodison Park as Everton prepared to play Luton Town in the FA Cup - REUTERS
Firefighters were called to Fox Street in Liverpool to find a four-storey building well alight
Firefighters were called to Fox Street in Liverpool to find a four-storey building well alight

Fire chiefs urged locals to avoid the area and nearby residents and businesses were advised to close windows and doors against the smoke.

A statement on Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service’s website added: “Fire crews have been called to a large fire on Fox Street, Liverpool City Centre, L3.

“12 fire engines and two aerial appliances are in attendance. Crews were alerted at 2.18pm and on scene at 2.23pm.

Smoke near Liverpool John Moores University
Smoke near Liverpool John Moores University
Fire chiefs urged locals to avoid the area
Fire chiefs urged locals to avoid the area - PA

“Crews arrived to find a four-storey building 100 metres x 50 metres well alight.

“The incident has been divided into sectors, with firefighters wearing breathing apparatus fighting the fire with main branch hoses.

“The building is showing signs of collapse and fire crews are evacuating buildings. The incident is ongoing. Please avoid the area. Residents and businesses nearby should close windows and doors.

“If you have an existing health condition, keep medicines nearby and if any ill effects occur dial NHS 111 for advice.”

Smoke rises above Liverpool city centre
Smoke rises above Liverpool city centre
Smoke seen from across the River Mersey in Birkenhead
Smoke seen from across the River Mersey in Birkenhead

Scarlett O’Neill was evacuated from her flat shortly after the blaze started.

She said her flatmate called her into the kitchen as they watched the industrial building become engulfed in flames.

Speaking to the Liverpool Echo, she added: “We rang the fire service and saw the flames getting bigger. It was worrying so we decided to grab some things and leave as the smoke intensified and you could feel the heat coming from the fire through the flat windows.

“It got a lot worse very fast and there was lots of debris flying around. We’ve all had to find a place to stay tonight as they aren’t letting us back in the building.”

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