Fire breaks out at former cinema complex as public warned to 'keep away' from shopping centre

Police at the scene in Smethwick
Police at the scene in Smethwick -Credit:West Midlands Police

The public has been told to keep away from a shopping centre in the Black Country as firefighters tackle a blaze nearby. Heavy smoke can be seen in the area on Windmill Lane in Smethwick.

It comes after a fire broke out at around 1.30pm today (Sunday, May 5) at a former cinema complex. Shoppers have been told not to travel to The Windmill Shopping Centre and road closures in the area are likely, West Midlands Fire Service (WMFS) has said.

A hydraulic aerial platform is at the scene along with 12 fire crews. The smoke in the area has been described as "severe."

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A spokesperson for WMFS said: "The incident has been confirmed to involve a fire in a 4-storey derelict building. Currently, two main jets, one hose reel jet and a covering jet are in use, with a number of firefighters using breathing apparatus. A hydraulic aerial platform is also in use.

"A fire service drone is being operated at the scene to provide an aerial view and support firefighting efforts. There are no known casualties or injuries at this time.

"West Midlands Police and West Midlands Ambulance service personnel are also at the scene supporting our crews. As a precautionary measure, due to smoke in the area, the Windmill Shopping Park/Centre at the rear of the affected premises is being closed earlier than normal (from 3.15pm rather than 4pm).

"West Midlands Police are organising this in liaison with site management. Windmill Lane is also fully closed to traffic at this time. It’s expected this incident will be ongoing into the evening, and potentially overnight."

Smethwick Police shared pictures from the scene on social media. A spokesperson said: "Please keep away from The Windmill Shopping Centre due to a fire."