INVESTIGATION teams have been sifting the rubble after a Kidderminster carpet warehouse blaze, yesterday, which drew in firefighters from across Worcestershire and the West Midlands.

The 100 metres by 50 metres carpet and underlay storage depot on Gemini Business Park, in Stourport Road on the outskirts of the town, has been left severely damaged and may now have to be demolished.

Workers at neighbouring business units raised the alarm, at 10.40am, after seeing smoke coming from the fire which is believed to have taken hold in an area of the building where recycled plastic is stored.

More than 70 firefighters from Worcestershire and as far away as Brierley Hill used water hose reels and special thermal imaging equipment to prevent spread of flames to a neighbouring plastics storage depot.

The main A451 Stourport Road had to be shut so firefighters could lay water supply hoses across the carriageway with police diverting busy pre-Christmas Saturday traffic around the nearby Birchen Coppice Estate.

Several workers in the building when the fire started and staff in nearby industrial units were safely evacuated and there were no injuries but residents were advised to stay inside because of the thick black smoke.

David Williams, Kidderminster Fire Station manger, said: "It was a serious fire and was rapidly developing so our priority had to be to protect the adjoining building which contained a large quantity of plastic granules, which we did.

"We made a decision we were not going to send firefighters into that building but we were in the adjacent building.

"It's been very badly damaged and we sought the advice of our colleagues at Wyre Forest District Council who've said it's very unstable.

"It's likely the building's owner will be affecting demolition probably next week."

He added investigation officers, who have finished collecting evidence, are looking at the possiblity the fire began accidentally.

Firefighters used a special aerial ladder platform unit fitted with thermal imaging equipment which helps identify blaze hot spots for the first time in Wyre Forest to help tackle the flames.

Crews are still at the scene dampening down today and a private clean-up firm has been called in to take away asbestos cement sheeting which fell away from the depot roof during the fire.

Firefighters have now confirmed the fire started accidentally, click here for the full story.

Further updates and pictures will be available on the website throughout the week with a round-up in Thursday's Shuttle/Times & News.

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To view mobile phone video footage of the blaze click here.