Wolverhampton fire: Crews battle ‘apocalyptic’ blaze for 12 hours as major incident declared

More than 100 firefighters have been battling a major blaze for over 12 hours at multiple factory units in Wolverhampton.

A major incident has been declared and people were evacuated to nearby leisure centres.

Emergency crews were called to Lower Horseley Fields at around 9pm yesterday.

There have been reports of several explosions at the industrial site and thick plumes of black smoke being seen from 15 miles away as it billowed into the sky.

Locals also described scenes “like the apocalypse” as the “sky turned red” from the enormous flames.

Nearby trains have been stopped as well as roads closed while people have been told to keep their doors and windows closed due to the smoke.

West Midlands Fire Service said that people were being evacuated due to the amount of smoke in the area.

There is also travel disruption for commuters today with National Rail telling travellers to expect disruption in Wolverhampton until midday today.

It stated at 12.06am: “Efforts to tackle the fire continue, as crews work to create a fire break to prevent any further spread.

“Due to the amount of smoke, an evacuation area is being developed for local residents. With help from Wolverhampton Council, transport is being arranged for residents to evacuate to two nearby leisure centres.”

More than 100 fire fighters and 16 fire engines are battling the blaze on Monday night that was initially stated as taking place in a derelict factory in Lower Horseley Fields.

Local residents said they heard “loud bangs” and one said that it sounded like “explosions”.

Kuljit Singh, 57, said: “It was chaos here last night, there was balls of fire leaping into the sky and explosions.

“The fire service did an amazing job. The whole sky was lit up red like the apocalypse or something and they’ve worked all night.

“The cordon is massive. I live down the road and had to keep my windows and doors closed. My cousin in Birmingham said he could see it from there.”

Images from the site show flames engulfing buildings and thick black smoke billowing into the sky.

West Midlands Fire Service said there were 100 firefighters at the scene, which has been declared a major incident due to the factory units being close to housing and a railway line.

Thermal imaging drones are being used to help tackle the blaze which is covering a site roughly 200 metres by 200 metres.

“It’s all very worrying – it’s so close to the train line. I hope everyone is ok,” said an eye witness, reported BirminghamLive.

National Rail stated: “Disruption through Wolverhampton expected until the end of service.”

An update at 11.10pm by West Midlands Fire Service said: “We can confirm that this fire involves multiple factory units, measuring a total of approximately 200m x 200m.

“All nearby trains have been stopped.

“Our crews are tackling the blaze from multiple angles, and we have more than 100 firefighters in attendance. Our High Volume Pumping Unit (HVP) is pumping water from a nearby canal.

“A thermal imaging drone has been brought into use to provide us with an aerial view of the incident, helping inform operational decisions.”

An earlier statement read: “Just after 9pm on 5th December 2022, we were called to a large fire at a derelict factory at Lower Horseley Fields, Wolverhampton. The entire factory, measuring approximately 15m x 30m, is involved in fire.

“Four fire engines initially responded. Our response was quickly increased due to the scale of the fire

, and we now have more than 20 of our appliances in attendance. Two hydraulic platforms are also being utilised as our crews continue to tackle the blaze.

“Just after 10pm, we declared this a major incident, due to the size of the incident and its proximity to the nearby railway line and houses. If you live in the local area, please keep windows and doors closed.

“We are working with other agencies, such as Police, Ambulance and Network Rail, as we continue to deal with this incident.”

And a latest tweet from the West Midlands Ambulance Service said: “We are currently at the scene of a major fire in the Lower Horsley Fields area of #Wolverhampton We have specialist resources at the scene supporting @WestMidsFire including @WMASHART.

“Please ensure you keep all windows and doors shut if you live nearby and avoid the area.”

Police are also at the scene and have said that road closures are in place.