Up to 75 firefighters and 15 appliances battled a blaze at a nightclub, the fire service said today.
West Midlands Fire Service said the blaze at Gem's R'n'B club in the Jewellery Quarter broke out at around 2.30am this morning.
At the height of the fire in Branston Street, Hockley, smoke could be seen billowing out across the city centre, divisional officer Tim Gardiner said.
Crews from Ladywood fire station and the Central fire station quickly arrived at the scene and immediately saw that the blaze had engulfed most of the building, Mr Gardiner said.
The fire service's helicopter had to be used to beam pictures back to the command unit on the ground to help officers tackle the flames and to protect the surrounding buildings, he added.
Some 30 people were evacuated from the surrounding area as a precaution but the club was shut when the fire broke out and there were no reports of injuries to members of the public.
Mr Gardiner said that up to 75 officers were involved in fighting the fire, which had taken two and a half hours to get under control.
Structural experts are now examining the old Victorian building to make sure it is safe for firefighters to enter and tackle any remaining flames.
Mr Gardiner said: "The building is totally gutted. It is like an empty shell."
There was no indication at the moment as to the cause of the fire but investigating officers were at the club and would be there for most of the day, he added.
The fire officer also said that Branston Street was likely to be closed off for two to three days while the area was made safe.
The blaze came just days after two staff at the club were handcuffed together as the building was doused with petrol and raided.
The gang waited until closing time on the night of June 8 before carrying out the robbery.
Gem's is also the venue where father of one Marvin Jiro had been out drinking with two friends before he was stabbed and killed on Sunday, May 28.