Investigations continue after a Grade II listed building was destroyed by fire in the Black Country.
The former Boak leather works at the junction of Bridgman Street and Station Street, Walsall, was gutted on Monday night.
At its peak, around 80 fire fighters tackled the blaze. Crews were forced back when parts of the building caved in because of the intense heat.
A gas main was also damaged when sections of the 109-year-old building collapsed.
The assistant curator at the town’s Leather Museum said the destruction of the building is a sad day for the town’s heritage.
Police and fire officers investigating the blaze, which began at 10.30pm on Monday, said establishing the cause would be difficult because of the extent of the damage.
They spent yesterday scouring the site for clues as structural engineers assessed the scene.
David Mills, from the Walsall Leather Museum, said: “It made me feel sick in the pit of my stomach.
“I could see daylight through the structure and it seems to be leaning forward.
“It was an incredibly handsome building and there was a plan at one point in time to turn it into flats, but I don’t know what happened with that.”
Roads around the building remained closed to traffic and pedestrians yesterday.
Mr Mills added: “It could have been a wonderful building in terms of homes in the same way as the old flour mill is.
“It’s a terrible day.”
A resident, who asked not to be named, heard parts of the building collapse, including the iconic water tank – a landmark for visitors arriving by train to the town.
He said: “I was actually in bed and heard the sirens. When I looked out the window I just saw the orange glow and the smoke. The tower made a massive thud as it went down. It’s a real shame.”
Police are appealing for witnesses to call them on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.