A nightclub destroyed by fire just days after it was raided and doused with petrol was still unsafe last night.
Up to 75 firefighters were called to battle the blaze at Gems R'n'B club in Birmingham's Jewellery Quarter after it was spotted by a passing patrol at 2.45am yesterday.
Fire crews arrived within minutes but the flames had already engulfed most of the building in Branston Street, Hockley, and smoke was billowing out across the city.
It took two and a half hours for fire crews to get it under control. A fire service spokesman said: "They were faced with a ferocious fire with flames pouring from the windows of each of the three floors of a fairly old but substantial brick building.
"They battled successfully to prevent the fire spreading to other buildings within the Jewellery Quarter."
The club was shut when the fire broke out and there were no reports of injuries, although some 30 people were evacuated from nearby apartments as a precaution.
Divisional Officer Tim Gardiner said Branston Street was likely to be shut for a few days. Mr Gardiner said: "The building is totally gutted. It is like an empty shell."
Officers had had to use the fire service's helicopter to beam pictures back to their command unit to help them tackle the flames, he added.
Investigating officers were working throughout the day to try and establish the cause of the fire but it is currently being treated as "unexplained", West Midlands Police said.
Structural experts were also checking over the old Victorian building so that firefighters could dampen down, but safety was a still a problem last night.
The fire came just days after two staff at the club were handcuffed together as the building was doused with petrol and raided by a gang after closing time on June 8.