Crews tackle blaze near Manchester Strangeways prison

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    Strangeways fire from the airImage copyright GMFRS
    Image caption The building has been declared dangerous and demolition work is due to start later

    A fire has broken out at a converted mill near a Manchester prison.

    Greater Manchester Fire Service said 10 engines and two hydraulic platforms were called to Southall Street at about 04:45 BST.

    The fire is on the top floor of the four-storey building – understood to be a furniture warehouse – and part of the building has collapsed.

    Roads near the scene and HMP Manchester, formerly known as Strangeways, are closed.

    A Ministry of Justice spokesman said all prison visits had been cancelled for the day.

    Prisoners are also not being allowed to exercise outside because of the risk of fumes.

    The fire service and council have declared it a dangerous building and demolition work is due to start later.

    Drivers are advised to avoid the area.

    At the scene

    Inzy Rashid, BBC Radio Manchester

    Part of top half of the converted mill has been completely destroyed as the roof has collapsed.

    I can see flames through the windows rising through the top of the building, which is now office and business space.

    There is debris on Southall Street, with bricks scattered across the road.

    This is right opposite HMP Manchester, which is known locally as Strangeways prison.

    Its tower is a local landmark and you can’t see it because of the billowing plume of smoke which is blowing across the road.

    This is close to one of the main roads into the city and traffic chaos is expected in the rush hour.

    Incident commander Tony Bryan, of GMFS, said firefighters had stopped the blaze from spreading to other properties.

    He said: “The damage is considerable with heavy brick debris.

    “We’ve had some close scrapes but thankfully we predicted where the building was likely to fall – thankfully we are all going home in one piece.”

    A staff member at a nearby Travelodge said she was concerned at one stage about the fire spreading.

    “It just got bigger and bigger,” she said.

    Image copyright GMFRS
    Image caption Part of the building opposite the scene of the fire has collapsed
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