asbestos - disused building fire - pic by Scott Taylor

Roads were closed, shops shut and areas evacuated amid the Macon House blaze in Crewe because of asbestos contamination fears, Cheshire East Council confirmed.

Macon Way and Grand Junction Retail Park were reopened at around 11am today following the fire which broke out in Macon House yesterday shortly after 4.30pm.

The building, which is currently disused, is owned by Cheshire East Council and is in the process of being demolished, said a spokeswoman for the authority.

She added: “Road closures and a cordon were put in place as a matter of public safety after the fire broke out due to heavy smoke and concerns about the risk of asbestos contamination.

“While we must stress that the risk to the public was very low, the safety of our residents is our upmost priority and asbestos monitoring was carried out in the area this morning.

“Following the monitoring, air contamination levels were deemed by experts to be below the level for concerns and both the retail park and Macon Way were reopened at just after 11am.

“As a precaution, further monitoring is being carried out at premises located in the immediate vicinity of Macon House.

“We thank residents and businesses for their patience while the closures were in place.”

Cheshire Police are appealing for witnesses to come forward to help them in the investigation.

They are hoping dashcam footage and other witness evidence may help them establish the cause.

One witness tweeted he saw youths running from the building as the fire started, but police have not confirmed whether the cause is suspicious.

Anyone with information contact Cheshire Police on 101, quoting 657 of 28/09/17.

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