Derby city centre was brought to a halt, this evening, by an explosion on top of a city centre block which provides accommodation for students in the city.

Eye witnesses reported a fire had broken out in the plant room on top of Norman House, part of the Heritage Gate complex, just before 5pm. It seems the fire caused a gas canister to explode inside the plant room. The blast was heard as far away as Mickleover. Plumes of smoke could be seen rising from the block in the city’s business quarter, just off Friar Gate.

Offices, restaurants and bars were evacuated and streets around the Heritage Gate area closed as eight fire crews from Derby and Derbyshire were called to tackle the blaze.

Occupants of the six-storey residential block reported they had been unable to find fire alarms though, thankfully, there were no reports of casualties.

Derbyshire Fire Service reported the fire was out by 6.30pm.

Friar Gate, Friary Street and Stafford Street were closed causing serious disruption to the evening rush hour traffic.

Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service issued a statement which read:

At 16.44 hours on 4 June 2018 Derbyshire Fire & Rescue Service received several call to a fire in Derby City Centre.

Firefighters from Kingsway, Ascot Drive, Nottingham Road, Ilkeston, Long Eaton, Belper, Alfreton and Castle Donington (Leicestershire) attended the fire in the plant room on the roof of Norman House off Friar Gate in the City of Derby.

The Ariel Ladder Platform was used to assist fighting the fire.

Firefighters worked to contain the fire and prevented any further spread. The fire is now out.

There are no known people with injuries as a result of the fire.

A multi-agency meeting with police and ambulance is currently underway to discuss bringing the incident to a close.

An investigation will look into the cause of the fire.