Soho Hill, Birmingham B19 1AP, UK
Shortly before 4.45am on Tuesday 19 December we responded to a severe fire on Soho Hill, Handsworth, Birmingham.
The first fire crew arrived at the scene within five minutes of being mobilised. In all, we sent 11 crews and two aerial platforms.
This was a severe fire involving a three-storey void building. In spite of it not being in use, four men were rescued by our crews via ladder from the second floor.
They left the scene shortly after being rescued.
Some three quarters of the building were affected by fire, which made it unsafe for our firefighters to enter.
However, by 8am the main seats of fire were confirmed to be out. Several main water jets were used.
Local road closures are expected to remain in place until lunchtime, because of the dangerous state of the building and our continuing work at the scene.
Five fire engines and one aerial platform remain in attendance.
We have now lifted a warning to people nearby to keep doors and windows closed because of smoke.
The cause of the fire has yet to be established.
Our resources at the scene have been further scaled down to three fire engines and one aerial platform.
A structural engineer has inspected the building. Concerns about its stability mean that Soho Hill is now expected to stay closed between St Michael’s Road and Soho Avenue for the rest of the day.
We are extremely saddened to confirm that a body has been located inside the Soho Hill building to which we responded early this morning, and from which four other people were rescued.
Our thoughts are with everyone affected by this upsetting news.
The dangerous condition of the building means that our firefighters and fire investigators have been unable to enter it. The entire first and second floors, plus the roof space, were involved in the fire.
We are working closely with West Midlands Police, the city council and the owner of the building to ensure that the building is safe before we can recover the body.
Local road closures remain in place for public safety.
Following a challenging and sensitive operation this morning, we can confirm that a body has now been recovered from the building by members of our Technical Rescue Unit.