Firefighters battled to save a church and surrounding businesses when a derelict warehouse went up in flames in Sheffield.
An investigation is now under way into the cause of the blaze after the building on Nursery Street in the city centre was found engulfed in flames yesterday, at about 6.30am .
When fire crews arrived there were flames shooting 20ft into the air.
Firefighters spent about three hours bringing the flames under control and another few hours damping down.
Crews fought to prevent the flames and heat from the blaze damaging the neighbouring New Testament Church of God.
Stewart Nicholson, South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue incident commander, said: “There were five fire engines and two aerial ladders there at the height of the blaze - 30 firefighters in total. Because it was disused we fought the fire from outside and above.
“When we arrived the flames were about 20ft in the air and there was lots of smoke in the surrounding area. The entire top floor of the three-storey building was involved in fire.
“Because the warehouse was disused we concentrated on protecting neighbouring buildings, such as the church next door and other industrial premises and offices.
“The fire was under control within three hours and then we spent time damping down before the fire investigation could begin.”
Police closed Nursery Street at both ends while the firefighting operation was under way. Paramedics were also there in case of injuries.
Firefighters called in specialist structural engineers to assess the condition of the building before fire investigators ventured inside to start their work.