Birmingham & Black Country

'Metal-cutting sparks' caused Birmingham factory fire

A blaze which gutted a Birmingham furniture factory was caused by sparks created while cutting metal, the fire service said.

The sparks led to the "accidental ignition" of the premises in Montgomery Street, Sparkbrook, a spokesman said.

About 100 firefighters tackled the blaze at the Direct Furniture Choice Ltd premises on Tuesday.

Crews are still searching the burnt-out building after reports of people going inside as crews tackled the blaze.

Members of the public had told firefighters they believed they saw people going in the warehouse, the service said.

Sprinklers call

Acting Assistant Chief Fire Officer Dave Walton said: "With incidents of this nature, there are often numerous sources of information presented to us by bystanders.

"Although the reports of a person being involved are unsubstantiated, we will treat the information with the utmost seriousness until we can prove otherwise."

The service said the cause of the fire reinforced the need for sprinklers to be fitted at such premises.

Mr Walton said: "The early activation of a sprinkler would have prevented the fire spread, the extensive damage to the building and to the businesses which occupied it.

"We would also benefit from the improved safety afforded to our firefighters - some 100 of whom were committed to tackle this incident - that sprinkler systems provide."

Firefighters are still damping down the blaze and a structural engineer has been called in to assess the state of the building.

Nearby houses were evacuated during the incident, but no-one is believed to have been hurt in the fire.

Part of Montgomery Street and Small Heath Highway were among roads which were closed.

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