By Lucy Roue
Smoke was sent billowing across the Wirral after a fire at a Birkenhead warehouse.
Fire fighters spent over three hours tackling the blaze which broke out in a single storey brick building in Thomas Street. Hours later they were called to another blaze in Rick Ferry.
Merseyside Fire & Rescue was called at 4.15pm to the incident close to the entry with the Queensway tunnel.
Residents described seeing ‘huge’ flames and black smoke rising from the derelict site.
A gym-user at Titans on Thomas Street, said: “We ran to watch it from the back window when we saw the smoke.
“I couldn’t believe it. I was seeing 20ft flames shoot in the air and you could hear loud crackling and popping from inside.
“We were worried in case it spread because there is a gas mains nearby.”
Police closed nearby roads and residents were directed around the incident as black smoke billowed into the air.
Borough Road was closed both ways with Jackson Street between Borough Road East and Blackpool Street also affected.
Cordons remained in Hind Street and access to Rock Retail Park was limited for a short time.
The witness added: “The roads were pandemonium with the traffic being diverted around Birkenhead from a one-way street.
“Smoke was blowing across the road near the tunnel entrance and I could see debris being flung into the air.
“It was a bit of a drama but the fire service were there within minutes and managed to get a hold of it. They did a really good job and seemed to get it under control very quickly.”
A spokesperson for the fire service said: “By 4.36pm two main jets were in use tackling the flames and four fire appliances were on scene with two more requested to attend the scene to ensure there were enough fire fighters to tackle the flames.
“An aerial appliance, which is an appliance which has a platform on the end of an extendable arm to put water on fires from above roof height, was also sent to the scene.”
The disused building, close to Birkenhead Central Station, is believed to have laid empty for a number of years.
Philip Kearney, of Argyle Street, Birkenhead said: “I have been in that building before when I was a kid. It used to be a warehouse but it was just left open and not boarded up so anyone could get in.”
The Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service control room received 31 calls about the fire with smoke visible from across the River Mersey and beyond.
Fire officers remained at the scene damping down until 8.30pm.
An investigation will be launched today to determine the cause of the fire.
Firefighters spent just under two hours tackling a blaze at a former care home in Rock Ferry. Crews from Wallasey, Upton, Bromborough and Birkenhead were called to the fire in Egerton Park, Rock Ferry at around 4.30am on Tuesday morning.
Two rooms were completely destroyed and the remainder of the property was damaged by smoke. Firecrews finally left the scene at 6.15am. At this stage the cause of the fire is unknown.