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Last Updated: Monday, 18 June 2007, 20:47 GMT 21:47 UK
Nightclub collapses in city fire
The scene of the fire
Emergency crews tackled the nightclub blaze
A nightclub in South Yorkshire has partly collapsed in a massive fire.

Emergency crews were called to the Gatecrasher One nightclub - formerly The Republic - in Eyre Street, Sheffield, on Monday evening.

Two people were believed to be inside the building when the blaze took hold but escaped the premises unharmed after calling 999.

The Arundel Street end of the two-storey building later collapsed, narrowly missing firefighters.

South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service said five crews - about 25 firefighters - were at the scene tackling the blaze at its height.

Buildings evacuated

Spokesman Steve Makepeace said: "There is lots of foams, plastics... lights, alcohol, you name it - everything that wants to burn is in that building."

A number of roads around the area, including Arundel Street, Matilda Street, Sydney Street, Cumberland Street and Furnival Road, were closed by police.

Steve Makepeace, at the scene of the blaze
The former warehouse was nearly 100 years old

Student accommodation and a number of work places were evacuated by officers, who issued a warning to the public to keep windows and doors closed due to the fumes given off by the blaze.

Meanwhile structural engineers were called to the scene to survey the damage to the former warehouse, which was built almost a century ago.

Managing director of Gatecrasher, Simon Raine, said he was thankful nobody had been hurt.

He said: "It is not a great sight, but from our point of view the main thing is that the building was evacuated.

"There is no injury or loss of life and in these situations that is the key factor."

Smoke across city

Crowds gathered to watch as the fire took hold of the building - which was one of Sheffield's biggest nightclubs and the original Gatecrasher.

One onlooker told BBC Radio Sheffield: "It is a shame - it was one of the best clubs in Sheffield."

Sheffield skyline
Smoke could be seen across the city, picture by Michael Rodgers

Smoke from the blaze could earlier be seen for miles across the city.

Eyewitnesses said plumes of smoke gradually spread across the city centre and turned from a dark grey colour to thick white to yellow cloud.

Sheffield city centre resident Kirsten Law said: "I was on the phone when I first noticed it and thought the whole development was on fire.

"I've had to go around closing all the windows because the smell of the smoke's so strong and have been watching the charred bits fly past the window, and I'm on the other side of town from Gatecrasher."


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