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Watching brief on fire-hit Smethwick factory amid collapse fears

By Thomas Parkes | Smethwick | News | Published:

Firefighters remained at the site of a fire-ravaged Smethwick factory amid fears it could collapse.

Firefighters tackle the blaze.

A total of 10 firefighters from Aston and Handsworth stations are currently watching the disused Rolfe Street building.

It came after crews from across the West Midlands turned out to tackle the severe blaze on Wednesday afternoon.

Firefighters tackle the blaze.

A total of 20 per cent of the building was damaged by the blaze, the service said.

A spokesman for the fire service said: "They are maintaining a watching brief – they are there making sure it does not start up again.

"As it stands, they are just observing. There's a possibility the building is structurally unsound."

Firefighters tackled the blaze.

And now a structural engineer has been sent to the service to carry out a full assessment.

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Up to 50 firefighters were sent to the scene yesterday as thick smoke billowed into the air.

Firefighters tackled the blaze.

The fire was started accidentally after nearby rubbish was set alight.

Sandwell Council said it has "concerns" over the building after the damage.

A council spokesman said: “We are liaising with the owner of the factory as we have concerns about the front and rear gable ends of the building.”

Officials from the Canal and River Trust had been called to monitor the adjourning waterway.

Thomas Parkes

By Thomas Parkes
Trainee Reporter - @TParkes_Star

Trainee reporter at the Express & Star, based in Wolverhampton. Got a story? Get in touch at thomas.parkes@expressandstar.co.uk.

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