NATIONAL NEWS: 'Heroic' firefighters tackle large blaze at flats in Manchester city centre

Emergency services at the scene of a fire at a 12-storey building in the Northern Quarter of Manchester. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday December 30, 2017. Images posted on social media show smoke billowing out of the building on Joiner Street in the city, while crowds of people watch on from below.  Photo: Danny Lawson/PA Wire
Emergency services at the scene of a fire at a 12-storey building in the Northern Quarter of Manchester. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday December 30, 2017. Images posted on social media show smoke billowing out of the building on Joiner Street in the city, while crowds of people watch on from below. Photo: Danny Lawson/PA Wire
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Firefighters have been praised for their "heroic" work after they brought a huge blaze in an apartment block under control in Manchester.

Firefighters have been praised for their "heroic" work after they brought a huge blaze in an apartment block under control in Manchester.

Emergency services at the scene of a fire at a 12-storey building in the Northern Quarter of Manchester. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday December 30, 2017. Images posted on social media show smoke billowing out of the building on Joiner Street in the city, while crowds of people watch on from below. Photo: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

Emergency services at the scene of a fire at a 12-storey building in the Northern Quarter of Manchester. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday December 30, 2017. Images posted on social media show smoke billowing out of the building on Joiner Street in the city, while crowds of people watch on from below. Photo: Danny Lawson/PA Wire

The fire, which started at around 4pm on Saturday, spread over multiple floors in the 12-storey building on Joiner Street in the city's Northern Quarter.

Images posted on social media showed flames engulfing a number of floors and smoke billowing out, while crowds of people watched on from below.

A 23-year-old was taken to hospital suffering from smoke inhalation but there are not believed to be any other casualties, Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) said.

The blaze, which started on the ninth floor, is thought to have spread via external wooden balconies and no cladding was involved, the service added.

At around 6pm, GMFRS tweeted: "The fire had spread to multiple floors but we have things well under control here.

"Firefighters along with colleagues from the Police and Ambulance service have done an amazing job to tackle this difficult incident!"

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn praised emergency services for their swift response.

He tweeted: "Thank you to @manchesterfire for their heroic work bringing the blaze in Manchester's Northern Quarter under control, and to the swift response of @gmpolice and paramedics."

Manchester Central MP Lucy Powell wrote: "I have spoken with the Manchester fire service. The #manchesterfire is under control and the building is being safely evacuated.

"Paramedics & others are at the scene to triage all those affected but no serious injuries known. Thank you our brilliant firefighters & paramedics."

Witness Andrew Hirst said crowds could be heard cheering as the fire was extinguished.

"You could hear the crowd's cheers as it was going down and you could see the torches from the firemen searching the burned out apartments right next door to the other apartments that were still frighteningly ablaze," the 36-year-old told the Press Association.

The businessman, who lives in the Northern Quarter, said the firefighters "controlled it well" but described the incident as "pretty scary".

Joiner Street and Church Street were closed as 12 fire appliances responded to the blaze, which affected around four properties.

The eighth floor was damaged by the smoke and floors 10 and 11 were affected externally, the fire service said.

A number of people were evacuated from the building and have been offered temporary accommodation.