Fire has ripped through a building in Manchester’s Chinatown, yards from the quarter’s imperial arch.
The huge blaze began at about 2.15am and threatened to cause disruption as shoppers head out to grab Black Friday deals.
A fleet of fire engines sent to tackle the flames illuminated the decorative gateway at the peak of the blaze and blocked city centre roads.
Phil Nelson, group manager of Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue, said: “Crews are still working hard to extinguish the building. We’re using two aerial appliances which have worked well in containing the fire and preventing spread to other buildings.
“We’re working with police to see if we can get the road closures opened before the morning rush-hour traffic.”
Firefighters were forced to keep back from the severely damaged multi-storey commercial building due to falling debris.
The fire brigade said the blaze was contained by about 6am but Portland Street, Princess Street and Faulkner Street remained closed and anyone travelling to the area was urged to find alternative routes.