Gin distillery blaze finally out

News Shopper: The fire destroyed the gin distillery in Langley (West Midlands Ambulance Service/PA) The fire destroyed the gin distillery in Langley (West Midlands Ambulance Service/PA)

Dozens of residents have been allowed to return to their homes after an 18-hour blaze which destroyed a gin distillery.

The fire in Langley, West Midlands, began on Monday morning and was finally extinguished at about 4am on Tuesday, allowing police to lift a 100-metre safety cordon.

More than 100 firefighters dealt with several explosions caused by overheating chemical drums during the blaze, which forced many local residents to spend the night in evacuation centres.

Services on the Birmingham-to-Stourbridge railway line were halted by the fire at Alcohols Ltd, which also operated a chemical distribution warehouse at the site.

West Midlands Fire Service said residents had been allowed to return to their homes, although a reduced cordon remains in place, affecting around 20 properties in the Crosswells Road and Hall Street area.

A fire service spokesman said: "A structural engineer will be assessing what remains of the building, and whether or not it needs to be demolished.

"The opening of roads which remain closed will also depend on this assessment.

"The exact cause of the fire is still being looked into by our expert investigation team.

"However, at this stage, it appears that it started when chemicals were being transferred from large tanks outside the main building to smaller drums, which were also outside."

A man in his 20s was admitted to a specialist burns unit following the fire, which caused heat damage to the front doors and windows of houses up to 30 metres away.

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