A MASSIVE fire has broken out in Liverpool at the Littlewood Pools building, one of the most famous landmarks in the northwestern English city.
Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service were called at approximately 7.52pm this evening.
The huge fire now covers 40 percent of the iconic art deco building and nine fire engines are currently trying to tackle the blaze.
Flames can be seen ripping through the 1930s art deco building in Edge Lane, as smokes billows into the sky.
There are currently no reports of any injuries.
Merseyside Fire and Rescue said: “An area of approximately 200m x 100m is on fire from the first floor of the building upwards.
“Crews using breathing apparatus have entered the building to tackle the fire. Two main jets are being used to tackle the fire externally.
“The incident is ongoing.”
Adam Higgins, co-founder of Capital & Centric, who owns the building, told Mirror Online: “We – and I’m sure the entire city of Liverpool – love that building and everything it stands for.
“Thousands have been through its doors over the years and it holds a special place in the hearts of many.
“To see it in flames tonight is nothing short of devastating.
“Fire and rescue teams are currently on site trying to control the fire and limit the damage to this iconic building.”
The five-storey Art Deco structure was built in 1938 and was part of the football pool’s coupons arm of the Littlewoods empire.
It has stood empty since 2003.
However, last year Capital & Centric bought the building and announced it would be turned into a film and TV studio.
Liverpool City council agreed a 250-year lease and includes a six acre development site in the proximity of the building.
Capital & Centric wrote in a tweet: “Heartbroken tonight that our Littlewoods Building is on fire.
“Fire crews are trying to control it at the moment.
“Don’t yet know the extent of the damage but part of the roof has collapsed. So upset“
Merseyside Fire and Rescue have now been fighting the blaze for several hours and three combined platform ladders are also being used.
Merseyside Police have closed both lanes of Edge Lane between the junctions of Beech Street and Laurel Road.
Residents in the area have been asked to keep their windows and doors closed due to the high level of smoke in the air.
On Twitter, the building owners Capital & Centric replied to a question about security and said early indications are the blaze was started on the roof.
They said: “We’ve got 24/7 security, early indications are it was possibly started on the roof not inside and whilst the building isn’t listed we’ve previously described it as socially listed, all the more important it’s restored urgently.”