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Smoke rises over Birmingham wholesale market. A large number of wooden pallets are believed to have caught fire and started the huge blaze. Photograph: @InspGMorris/Twitter/PA

Firefighters battle ‘severe’ blaze at Birmingham wholesale market

WT24 Desk

A huge fire has broken out at Britain’s biggest wholesale food market in Birmingham, The Guardian reports. Forty firefighters in eight fire engines were called to the Penshore street area in the city centre after the blaze broke out at about 2pm on Thursday. A large number of wooden pallets are believed to have caught light and started the fire, causing thick black plumes of smoke that could be seen from miles away.

A West Midlands fire service spokesman said the “severe fire” had engulfed about a fifth of the building but was not believed to have gone through the roof. Gareth Morris, inspector for Birmingham city centre, said emergency services did not think anyone was trapped inside the buildings. He added that people near the fire should keep out of the line of sight as gas canisters could be present.

Video posted on social media showed smoke rising from the covered market, which covers an approximate 330,000 sq ft. Initially West Midlands fire service said it was sending three fire engines to the scene, but that was quickly increased to eight as the scale of the blaze and its location became clear. Traffic and public transport were diverted away from the scene as emergency services tackled the fire.

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