Handsworth fire: Body found & four people rescued from a burning building in Birmingham

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West Midlands Fire Service discover a body after four men were rescued from a building on fire in Soho Hill near Hockely Birmingham, road closures remain in place

Firefighters have told how a body was found inside a disused building that went on fire in Handsworth in Birmingham early yesterday morning (Tuesday, December 19).

Four other men were rescued in the blaze. West Midlands Fire Service was called at 4.45am to the site on Soho Hill, Handsworth near Hockley, where the second floor had caught light. Firefighters reported that only “pockets of fire remained” at the disused property at 8.30am - with crews scaled back from 50 to 35. But at 5.17pm they reported that a body had been found. Road closures remain in place.

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The four men were present in the building despite it being disused. It was three-storey high in total. The men rescued men left the scene after exiting the building with the use of a ladder supplied by fire crews. WMFS is now working with West Midlands Police, Birmingham City Council and the owner of the building to make sure that it is safe before they recover the body.

Here's the latest statement from WMFS: "We are extremely saddened to confirm that a body has been located inside the Soho Hill building to which we responded early this morning, and from which four other people were rescued. Our thoughts are with everyone affected by this upsetting news.

"The dangerous condition of the building means that our firefighters and fire investigators have been unable to enter it. The entire first and second floors, plus the roof space, were involved in the fire. We are working closely with West Midlands Police, the city council and the owner of the building to ensure that the building is safe before we can recover the body. Local road closures remain in place for public safety."

West Midlands Police said: "We're investigating after a body was found following a fire at a building in Handsworth. The body was found inside the property on Soho Hill on Tuesday (December 19) morning. A post-mortem will be held in due course to establish the cause of death. We are liaising closely with West Midlands Fire Service to understand the cause of the fire. Anyone with information has been asked to get in touch, quoting log 412 of 19 December."

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Here's the previous statement from West Midlands Fire Service: "Shortly before 4.45am on Tuesday 19 December we responded to a severe fire on Soho Hill, Handsworth, Birmingham. The first fire crew arrived at the scene within five minutes of being mobilised. In all, we sent 11 crews and two aerial platforms.

"This was a severe fire involving a three-storey void building. In spite of it not being in use, four men were rescued by our crews via ladder from the second floor. They left the scene shortly after being rescued.

"Some three quarters of the building were affected by fire, which made it unsafe for our firefighters to enter. However, by 8am the main seats of fire were confirmed to be out. Several main water jets were used.

"Local road closures are expected to remain in place until lunchtime, because of the dangerous state of the building and our continuing work at the scene. Five fire engines and one aerial platform remain in attendance. We have now lifted a warning to people nearby to keep doors and windows closed because of smoke. The cause of the fire has yet to be established."

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