Liverpool fire: Councillor raises previous concerns as police investigate blaze

Merseyside Police have begun preliminary enquiries into the cause of the fire in Liverpool city centre.

A Liverpool councillor says a number of concerns had been raised about the four-storey building in the city centre where a large blaze broke out on Saturday.

A major incident was declared as twelve fire engines rushed to the premises on Fox Street, in Vauxhall, amid fears it could collapse.

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Firefighters arrived at around 2.20pm to find the half-built apartment block engulfed in flames as a huge plume of black smoke billowed into the sky.

Everton councillor Jane Corbett told BBC Radio Merseyside the site of the stalled Fox Street Village scheme had been 'handed from developer to developer' and had become a real concern for local residents.

"It's got a very long chequered history - this whole development site. This is in the middle of the community," Ms Corbett said. "People have been really, really concerned about it. It's just desperate. The way this has been managed is appalling."

A large cordon was put in place around the burning building on Saturday and people in neighbouring properties had to be evacuated as ash fell on nearby streets.

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Fifty firefighters tackled the blaze at its peak. By 5pm, the fire was no longer classed as a major incident and by 6.30pm residents who had been evacuated were allowed back inside their homes.

Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service (MFRS) said there were no reports of injuries and are now working with Merseyside Police to establish the cause of the fire.

Chief Inspector Jon Smith said: “While the cause of the fire will not be determined until the building is safe enough for fire investigators from MFRS to examine the scene thoroughly, our officers have begun preliminary enquiries in the area.

“CCTV is being examined and potential witnesses spoken to in order to ensure any investigative opportunities are not missed. It should be stressed that these enquiries are being carried out as a precaution and that no cause has yet been established.

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"That being said, if there is anyone who has any information about how this fire could have started, we would ask them to contact police so that we can assess all information and work with MFRS to create a full picture of what happened."

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