There has been an explosion in the city centre of Southampton today as a fire has broken out at the new Mayflower halls site.
The fire has been put out but it is unclear at present what caused the explosion to occur.
Giant plumes of black smoke have been seen across the city. The fire is understood to have broken out in the new student block of accommodation which is situated near the Mayflower Theatre and Southampton Guildhall in the city centre.
The Mayflower halls site is a new block of student accommodation which has not been quite finished yet. It is believed that the workmen were all working on the building as the explosion unfolded.
It has been reported that the whole of West Park Road and Bletchenden Terrace is closed. South Central Ambulance Service has confirmed there are no casualties at this moment.
A police officer confirmed that: “the large amount of emergency response vehicles present was because of the location and size of the building.” The building was designed to be new homes for hundreds of students from September this year.
The Wessex Scene have reporters on the scene and will keep you updated as more events develop.
UPDATE: Our reporters at the scene spoke to Fire Station Manager Kevin Lloyd-Spencer, who was able to clarify what happened.
The fire department was called to a serious fire on the 16th floor of the Mayflower Halls complex. A quick response to the fire from construction group Osborne led to full evacuation of the building site and firefighting teams were able to attend the site promptly.
The crews made it up to the 16th floor and ‘aggressively tackled’ the blaze, and the fire was extinguished at 12:48. Lloyd-Spencer said:
“The crews have worked exceptionally hard in arduous conditions, considering the height and strong winds at the scene.”
He confirmed that nobody was hurt in the fire, and that everybody present was accounted for at that time. 75-90 firefighters and 15 appliances were at the fire, but as it died down the number of appliances has been reduced to 10. As of yet, the cause of the fire is still unestablished. People were working on the floor in question at the time of the explosion and the fire, but the number present is still unconfirmed.
Lloyd-Spencer also mentioned that he would like to thank the people of Southampton for their understanding at this time. Cordons are being removed to minimise disruption to the city centre, and roads should be open again imminently.