Police declared the blaze a "major incident" as nearby residents were ordered to keep their windows closed to avoid smoke
A massive fire has ripped through a delivery warehouse, sending huge plumes of smoke up into the air and leaving items destined for homes across the UK feared destroyed.
Police declared the blaze a "major incident" as nearby homes were ordered to keep their windows closed to avoid smoke inhalation.
Emergency services rushed to the Blackpole Trading Estate in Worcester just after 8.30am this morning.
Up to 70 firefighters were reportedly battling the blaze at the warehouse owned by Arrow XL.
Video footage from the scene shows orange flames and thick black smoke billowing out of the 200,000 sq ft building.
It is unclear how many parcels were in the building and what impact any damage will have on deliveries.
Arrow XL confirmed 150 to 200 staff members are at the warehouse at any one time but said all workers were evacuated safely after the fire broke out.
Ian Howell, chief executive of Arrow XL, confirmed all of their staff had been sent home.
He said: "It is too early to say how much damage has been caused or what caused it.
"I am pleased to report that all staff are safe and well.
"We have a contingency plan in place which we are just finalising.
"Our top priority is our staff's safety and welfare and our second priority is to continue serving our clients."
Staff gathered outside the warehouse said they were unsure what caused the fire which started in the flatpack area.
Ash has fallen in residents gardens near the site, and smoke can be seen some distance away.
The trading estate has been closed by authorities.
Hereford and Worcester Fire Service said: "Large fire in progress in Blackpole Trading Estate Worcester.
"All nearby residents please keep your windows closed."
West Mercia Police said people were being advised to stay away from the Blackpole area.
Alan Bodily, an Arrow XL worker, added: "At first we thought it was a drill, we were all just on our tea break.
"Some staff have their car keys and other important items in the lockers so they cannot move their cars away from the fire."
Residents reported the fire appeared to have eased slightly by 11am as smoke cleared slightly above the estate.
West Mercia Police Superintendent Kevin Purcell said: "Officers from West Mercia Police are at the scene of a significant fire on Blackpole industrial estate where they are assisting Hereford and Worcester Fire Service with road closures.
"Significant road closures are in place and we advise drivers to avoid the area and residents to keep their windows and doors closed."
West Midlands Ambulance Service said no injuries had been reported as a result of the fire.
"The fire has been declared a major incident.
They tweeted: "We are currently have one ambulance, an officer and @WMASHART in attendance at a major fire in Blackpole. Currently no patients.
"All residents are being asked to stay indoors and keep windows closed. Please avoid the area."
Massive blaze rips through Arrow XL delivery warehouse as 'major incident' declared
20 Apr 2017, 21:58
"Arrow XL confirmed 150 to 200 staff members are at the warehouse at any one time but said all workers were evacuated safely after the fire broke out. Ian Howell, chief executive of Arrow XL, confirmed all of their staff had been sent home." And I very much doubt if any of the 150 to 200 staff members at the warehouse minded being sent home early.