Leeds & West Yorkshire

Evacuation as Morley church catches fire

The burning church
Image caption There are plans to build a hotel on the site

Several families had to be evacuated from their homes after a major fire at a derelict church in Leeds.

St Mary's in the Wood Church, on Queen Street, Morley, has been gutted by the fire, which started at about 0230 BST.

About 20 people living nearby were moved to a supermarket due to fears over the church steeple collapsing.

Police and the fire service are investigating the cause of the fire. They said it was too early to say whether it was suspicious.

Developers have submitted a planning application for a luxury hotel, restaurant and car park on the site.

The planning application, which some local residents have objected to, is being considered by Leeds City Council. A decision is due next month.

A West Yorkshire Police spokesman said: "On arrival the church was found to be well alight, and eight fire service appliances with support and an aerial platform fought for several hours under dangerous conditions to bring the fire under control and reduce the risk of the building collapsing.

"The fire has caused serious and significant damage to the church, and work will be carried out to prevent the building collapsing and establish whether or not it can be saved."

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