FIRE at fireworks factory near Portswood

Students as far away as Monte were woken by multiple explosions at 5am

Bitterne Road West has partially been reopened following a large fire which has devastated a plant nursery and fireworks shop this morning.

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A faint plume of smoke can still be seen rising from the affected site, where at around 5am today an inferno broke out, igniting dozens of fireworks whose explosions woke student dwelling as far as Wessex Lane.

As many as 13 engines and support vehicles were dispatched by the Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service and were assisted by Hampshire police, who established a 100m cordon around the site and evacuated up to 60 local residents to a nearby rest centre.

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Around 70 fire-fighters who surrounded the area managed to contain and put out the fire after 6 hours, and it is thought that no one was working in either the Flower Factory or Southern Fireworks Factory as the blaze began.

Southern Water has apologised for low pressure and a temporary loss of water supply, resulting from hydrants in the area being used by the fire services. They have also explained that any discolouration of the water supply is a harmless result of iron oxide sediment in the mains being disturbed by the high demand of water.

Two local primary schools have been closed for the day due to restricted access around Bitterne Road.

Police say that it is too early to suspect foul play.