A LARGE fire which ripped through a Halesowen factory took more than 40 firefighters almost 12 hours to put out because of a ruptured a gas main.

Firefighters battled the fire yesterday, which investigators said was started accidentally, in Hayseech Road.

The fire, at Solutions Acrylic & Display industrial unit, is believed to have started in a laser cutting machine.

It is now under control, however a number of appliances were still at the scene last night damping down and making the area safe.

A spokesman for West Midlands Fire Service said: "Extinguishing the fire at commercial premises in Hayseech Rd, Halesowen has been hampered by a ruptured gas main with difficulties isolating supply, thanks to @CadentGasLtd the fire has now been extinguished."

Fire crews were called at around 11.30am yesterday morning. 

Hundreds of people took to social media to comment on the fire - Alexandra Firkins posted the above video.

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The fire site is near several other industrial buildings at the Beaver Park Industrial Estate and is also just 50 metres from houses on Fairmile Road.

Alexandra, of Fairmile Road, said she could feel the heat from the fire.

The 40-year-old said: "I just looked out the window about 11.20am and thought it was a rain cloud but then saw the most horrific black smoke and brown smoke.

"My dad lives right at the top of the road so I drove up to make sure he was ok and there were lots of people there wanting to know what was going on.

"You could feel the heat from that far away, massive orange flames and a lot of black smoke.

"The roof has just melted, it's gone to nothing. You could hear things popping, initially we thought it might've been tyres on fire.

"It's quite frightening as you don't see things like that down by us.

"I'm hoping nobody is hurt and the firefighters all get out ok."

The fire service was advising people living nearby to keep their windows and doors closed. 

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Melanie Gooch posted this picture of the smoke plumes.

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Above pic: Alexandra Firkins.

Solutions Acrylic & Display Limited states on its website that it was founded in 1993 and that it designs and manufactures acrylic display products, literature and product dispensers, exhibition equipment, display cases, cabinets, estate agent displays and more.

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The firm on Hayseech Road (pictured above) before the fire. Pic: Google.

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Pic: Dave Harley. 

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Pic: West Midlands Fire Service twitter