Birmingham & Black Country

Fire 'destroys' Carvers Wolverhampton builders merchants

Crews have been tackling a large fire at a builders merchants in Wolverhampton.

The fire at Carvers, in Littles Lane, began at about 11:40 GMT and was brought under control by 15:30 GMT. No-one was hurt.

Owner Henry Carver said: "It just happened so quickly. That's 115 years of history destroyed."

Neighbouring homes were evacuated as a precaution and the smoke caused disruption to train services.

Services have now returned to normal.

'Last look'

Passengers have been advised to check with National Rail for thelatest information.

West Midlands Fire Service said it had found some asbestos in the roof of the collapsed depot building but the asbestos posed "no risk" to public safety. The cause of the fire is not yet known.

Mr Carver said he had been taken by surprise by the alarm and his secretary had to tell him it was not a practice.

He said: "There was a little bit of wind and it spread.

"I guess the only solace we can take from it is that we got everybody out very quickly.

"Ironically it started just below where my office was and it spread almost at walking speed.

"I did a little last-minute walk round until I took a few gulps of the smoke and realised I had to get out myself."

An electricity failure meant the doors would not open and Mr Carver was forced to jump over a small gate at the main entrance.

Image caption Drivers were urged to avoid the area

He said he was relieved no-one had been hurt and the company, which sponsors the Wolverhampton City Marathon, would now regroup.

The firm's former sales director Ivan Favage said it had come as a huge shock to see his workplace of 18 years burning.

He said: "It is a very happy family business. Most of the people who work there have been with the company for a very long time.

"It is probably one of the biggest single site builders merchants in the Midlands and has been heavily involved with the community through the marathon."

Woden Primary School closed early due to the fire.

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