DOZENS of firefighters rushed to tackle a blaze at a former Southampton pub last night.

Four engines equipped with water pumps were sent to the Big Cheese in West End Road, Bitterne at around 8pm.

One resident who lives just around the corner said he could "smell the smoke from a long way off."

Craig Thorn added: "It was quite dark and I arrived at the pub a bit late to see any flames, but you could smell the smoke from a long way off. The fire crews must have been there for a good hour after I arrived."

The Big Cheese closed its doors in 2017. Locals have since campaigned to stop planners from turning the building into flats.

A spokesperson for Hampshire Fire described it as "not a particularly large incident". 

All photos: Craig Thorn Photography.