'Massive fire' at flats construction site brought under control
An "absolutely massive" fire that ripped through a partially built block of flats in Manchester forcing the evacuation of nearby homes has been brought under control.
Witnesses described being able feel the scorching heat from the blaze as it torched the top floors of the timber framed high rise and belched smoke into the sky above Gorton on Sunday evening.
Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) said it sent five fire engines to the construction site on Pottery Lane at 8.05pm after receiving "in excess of 40" calls from concerned locals.
Local roads were closed and nearby houses evacuated due to the heat caused by the fierce blaze.
Matthew Thomas drove past the fire at about 8.10pm and said he was concerned the fire would cause the building's walls to give way onto the road.
The 43-year-old from Denton, Greater Manchester, told the Press Association: "We pulled up by the traffic lights and then we saw this huge fire - I didn't know whether to stop or just carry on and get out the way.
"You could really feel the heat - it was absolutely massive. I've never seen anything like it.
"It is a new build so I don't think anyone was actually living there, so in terms of stuff in the flat there probably wasn't much in there.
"It was really quite intense but burnt through quite quickly."
Flames could be seen engulfing the building and sending smoke billowing into the sky in video shot by bystanders and posted to social media.
Pictures showed the scale of the inferno, which could be seen from across the city.
Emergency services were quick to arrive on the scene, according to a worker at a Mecca Bingo opposite the site.
"The fire service is only a few minutes down the road, so if there's going to be a fire this is where you want to have it," they said.
Incident Commander Ben Levy said firefighters arrived to find the top two floors were "well alight", adding: "Given the fact it's timber framed and open to the elements the fire spread quite quickly."
GMFRS said around midnight that the fire had been contained and crews would remain at the site to damp down the wreckage.
There were no reports of any injuries.