A towering blaze unfolded in Vauxhall, Liverpool, as a four-storey building on Fox Street succumbed to flames on Saturday (January 27). The Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service swiftly responded to the 2:18 pm emergency call, dispatching over ten fire engines and several cranes to tackle the inferno, visible across Merseyside.
The intense fire, which cast thick smoke over the region, prompted a major incident declaration. While the building faced potential collapse, debris and ash rained down on St Anne Street and Great Homer Street. Despite the intensity, no casualties were reported, but nearby structures were evacuated, and a significant police cordon established, drawing onlookers.
By 5 pm on the same day, the fire was no longer deemed a major incident, indicating progress in containment efforts. Throughout the night, firefighters systematically reduced the blaze, scaling down operations as dawn approached. Concerns over structural stability were alleviated at 7:45 pm when the fire service confirmed a structural engineer’s satisfaction with the building’s integrity.
On January 28, the Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service reported overnight efforts to extinguish hot spots and clear the area of smoke. A statement detailed ongoing operations, indicating a reduction to one fire engine: “Firefighters have been using main jet and high-pressure hose reels throughout the night, with relief crews checking for hot spots aided by lighting rigs. Late last night, the incident was scaled back to one fire engine. One fire engine has remained, with firefighters using Thermal Imaging Cameras to check and damp down as necessary. No visible hot spots or smoke remain. Merseyside Police maintain an outer cordon.”
The incident’s peak saw smoke billowing across the region. A trainee teacher, 23, driving through Kingsway Tunnel from Wirral, described the scene to the PA news agency: “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. I was shocked to see the cloud and scared for whoever may be affected.”
The incident tested the emergency services’ mettle, showcasing community resilience. With the fire contained, attention shifts to investigating its cause and assessing damage. As the community recovers, questions arise about the affected building’s future and measures to prevent such incidents.
In conclusion, the swift response averted potential disaster, emphasizing emergency services’ preparedness. The aftermath prompts investigation, offering insights into the blaze’s circumstances. As Merseyside recovers, the incident underscores the critical role played by emergency services in community safety.