Shocking video shows how close huge factory fire was to railway line

Shocking video shows how close the huge fire that destroyed a factory came to the railway line behind.

The fire led to the closure of the railway through Wolverhampton. Photo: Network Rail
The fire led to the closure of the railway through Wolverhampton. Photo: Network Rail

Train services through Wolverhampton have returned to normal today after the blaze that started on Monday led to services being cancelled or diverted.

Network Rail has released drone footage which shows how close the fire at the building off Lower Horseley Fields was to the railway that runs between Wolverhampton and Birmingham via Sandwell & Dudley. The blaze also left the wall facing the tracks at risk of collapse.

In the video, filmed on Tuesday, smoke continues to pour out of the factory building while flames continued to lick the charred remains of the building that once was a beating heart of Wolverhampton's automotive industry. The roof had also completely gone as a result of the fire.

A woman travelling into Birmingham from Wolverhampton, who did not wish to be named, was one of the first passengers to go past the burnt-out building since the railway line reopened this morning.

She said: "Our train went past the fire this morning and it was surprising to see it still giving out a lot of smoke. As we went by, you could smell the smoke - it was horrible. The carriage smelt of smoke for the rest of the journey."

The wall facing the railway is at risk of collapse. Photo: Network Rail

At its height more than 100 firefighters were tackling the blaze on Monday night with around 50 still at the scene on Tuesday afternoon. Crews also used a thermal imaging drone to identify hotspots in the blaze, which at one stage covered a fifth of a square kilometre.

Fire crews had to pump water from the nearby canal, near the junction where the old main line and Wyrley and Essington canals meet, to help douse the flames.

The fire continued to burn well into Tuesday. Photo: Network Rail

In a statement issued last night, West Midlands Fire Service said: "Good progress is being made at the derelict factory fire, with all the day crews now relieved, so that five fire engines, two hydraulic platforms and our incident command unit can remain in place.

"An open water supply is being drawn from a local canal to help with extinguishing the fire and knocking down the smoke plume.

"We are working closely with Network Rail, Cadent engineers, West Midlands Police and Walsall Council Highways. Multi-agency briefings have been taking place and a demolition plan is being created for the safe removal of a structurally unstable perimeter wall."

Although train services have resumed, West Midlands Fire Service has confirmed that Willenhall Road near to the disused building on Lower Horseley Fields remains shut while bus services 82 and 529 are diverted in both directions via Deans Road and Wednesfield Road.

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