Liverpool fire: Investigation under way after huge fire ripped through four-storey building sparking major incident

A major incident was declared yesterday amid fears a building could collapse after a huge fire in Liverpool city centre.

Firefighters were called to a blaze on Fox Street shortly after 2pm on Saturday and arrived to find the building, measuring 100 metres by 50 metres, "well alight".

The building was said to be showing "signs of collapse" and fire crews and police had to evacuate nearby buildings, Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service (MFRS) said.

An investigation is under way as to what caused the fire.

Images on social media showed thick plumes of smoke over the city centre.

Lara Buchanan, a trainee teacher from Liverpool, said she could "feel the heat" of the blaze from her car as she left the Kingsway Tunnel after driving over from the Wirral.

The 23-year-old said: "I could see the fire before entering the tunnel but didn't know where it was coming from.

"As I came out of the tunnel into Liverpool, the sky was dark and all I could see was a black rolling cloud.

"The building was blazing alight and I could feel the heat from the car driving past."

Another teacher, 41-year-old Jose Garcia, who has lived in the city for 20 years, said it was the "biggest fire I have seen in Liverpool".

There was "huge, thick, black smoke going up into the city", he added.

Another Liverpool resident, who did not want to be named, said smoke "pretty much covered half of the skyline".

He added: "As soon as I got out of the car I could smell what I can only describe as burning plastic. It was pretty strong and I'm over the water in New Ferry."

People were advised to avoid the area, while those nearby were being encouraged to close windows and doors.

The fire was divided into four sectors and firefighters were wearing breathing apparatus, the service said.

There were no reports of any casualties.

Late on Saturday afternoon, MFRS said it was no longer a major incident.

"Successful firefighting tactics have resulted in the fire being greatly reduced, with the main body of fire now extinguished," it said.

In a later update, MFRS said crews were still dealing with "hot spots and small pockets of fire".

Nearby residents were being allowed to return home.