A fire that threatened to destroy Liverpool’s iconic Littlewoods building, recently unveiled as the site for a new film and TV studios complex, has been brought under control by the Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service.

The structural integrity of the historic art deco building is said to be intact. The east wing of the building, proposed as the new home of the studios was untouched by the blaze that tore through a 200m by 100m section of the building’s west wing last night. Damage to the west wing is thought to be considerable.

Adam Higgins, co-founder of the building’s developer Capital & Centric, told BBC Radio 5Live that despite the damage, he was hopeful that plans for the site could continue. “I’m very hopeful that we still will be able to do that because the walls still seem to be intact and, providing we can keep them up, we can still very much continue with our plans.”

Capital and Centric and Twickenham Studios announced back in June that Twickenham would open a £50m “Hollywood standard” studio complex on the site.

The project is to feature two new 20,000sq.ft sound stages alongside supporting workshops; wardrobe and prop storage and offices.

Twickenham Studios signed an agreement for lease on 85,000sq.ft, to become the hub’s first anchor tenant.

Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service Area Manager Paul Murphy, said: "This has been a significant fire and extremely difficult for our crews to deal with due to the size of the building. However, crews have worked extremely hard to battle this fire and have prevented it from spreading into the remainder of such an iconic building. It has been a challenging incident but we are in a position with the council where we feel the structural integrity of the building may remain intact."

At its height, six fire engines (as well as three support pumps), three combined platform ladders, a high volume pump, command support unit and incident command unit were in attendance.

Crews will remain on scene over the next 24 hours to carry out damping down operations.

An investigation into the cause of the fire will be launched.

Jon Creamer

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