MORE THAN 70 firefighters are tackling a large fire that has broken out in a Southampton building this evening.

Crews from across the city are on the scene tackling the blaze in Victor Street near Shirley High Street.

In the past hour, flames could be seen pouring out of a building as firefighters attempt to control the incident.

Members of the public have been asked to avoid the area to allow access for emergency services vehicles.

Daily Echo:

It is unclear what is currently on fire but Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service have tweeted: "Please avoid the area to allow for access for emergency vehicles."

Victor Street is currently closed due to the on going incident.

It is believed there are 14 fire pumps there, along with two aerial ladders and a water carrier.

The blaze started in a disused social club next to the former Factory of Fun play area.

Daily Echo:

The smoke is so thick that passers by are having to cover their faces to stop breathing it in.

One witness said: "I was walking down the road when I saw lots of smoke and then I heard sirens.

"They moved us away as more equipment arrived, including an aerial ladder platform.

"I saw some of the fire fighters putting on breathing gear. "

The fire started in a disused social club, said group manager Nigel Cooper of Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service.

Daily Echo:

He added that no one had been hurt in the incident and that at least 70 firefighters were on the scene.

Group manager Cooper added: "We have managed to stop the flames from spreading to the Factory of Fun, a Salvation Army building and a church.

"That has been our priority."

Smoke from the blaze covered large areas of the west of Southampton.

Daily Echo:

One resident in Shirley Towers said: "It's pretty smokey in this flat. Our eyes and throats are burning. It's pretty horrid as you can imagine.

"We evacuated thinking at first it was in this block, but we had to come back in as the smoke was just horrific."

And Kayleigh Crisell, of Howard's Grove, added: "I smelt smoke and thought it was a bonfire.

Daily Echo:

"Then I saw thick black smoke. I phoned my dad and he said the old social club was on fire. It's absolutely terrible - there's nothing left."

Firefighters are urging people to avoid the area. They are also advising locals to keep their doors and windows shut because of the smoke.

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