Four fire crews from West Midlands Fire Service faced a difficult task yesterday (Friday 22nd February) as a fire tore through an historic canalside building in Kings Norton.

The Junction House sits on the Worcester and Birmingham Canal, between Lifford Lane and Wharf Road and is inaccessible by road.

The Junction House dates back to the 1790s and was a tollhouse on the Worcester & Birmingham Canal

Crews from Kings Norton, Woodgate, Bournbrook and Ladywood attended the call to a fire in the vacant tollhouse building – over 200 years old – just before 5pm. Crews from Erdington and Smethwick also attended at changeover.

A response vehicle was able to get to the scene but fire trucks were unable to get close, meaning 20 firefighters had to carry equipment to the location and pump water from the canal to tackle the blaze.

Building checked for rough sleepers

Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus searched the building as there was concern rough sleepers may have been using the property. Two crews remained on scene overnight as a precaution but the scene was cleared by the fire service this morning.

B31 Voices understands that the building is owned by the Canal and River Trust and they have been contacted for comment.

Arson investigation

West Midlands Police confirmed that they are investigating the incident as arson.

Anyone with information is asked to contact West Midlands Police on Live Chat at www.west-midlands.police.uk (8am – midnight) or to call 101 any time. Alternatively, contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or visit www.crimestoppers-uk.org 

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