Southampton fire: Police appeal to trace men on roof

media captionWitnesses filmed the fire as it engulfed the building, which is under construction

Police are trying to trace three men who were seen on the roof of a building that was later destroyed by a fire.

More than 70 firefighters tackled the blaze in Southampton, which started on the uppermost fourth floor of the commercial property which was under construction.

It spread to the roof of a neighbouring block of flats in St Mary's Place which was evacuated.

Police have issued an image of the men in an attempt to trace them.

image captionA police officer helped rescue a dog from a nearby flat
image copyrightJesse Jones
image captionThe fire broke out on the fourth floor of the building

The fire, which broke out at 14:00, engulfed the whole of the vacant timber-framed property between St Mary's Place and St Mary Street.

Neighbouring flats in Hampton House were evacuated "as a precaution", the fire service said.

The blaze also damaged flats and shops in St Mary Street and Kingsway.

Police said the cause of the fire was unknown.

image copyrightJesse Jones
image captionSt Mary Street was closed along with other roads

Det Sgt Marcus Baker said: "We had several reports in relation to.... three men on the roof of the building at around 12:30."

Some residents have been unable to return home due to fire damage and have been offered accommodation by Southampton City Council, police said.

The fire was fully extinguished by 19:45, although fire crews have remained on the scene damping down.

image copyrightJesse Jones
image captionThe fire spread to all floors of a timber-framed building which was under construction

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