A MAIN road into Bristol remains closed after a fire at a vacant building thought to be used by homeless people.

The three-storey building on the A38 in Stokes Croft has been badly damaged in the blaze which took hold at 3am this morning.

Initially it was feared homeless people were sleeping rough inside but Avon Fire and Rescue Service said it had confirmed there was no-one in the building and no-one was injured in the fire.

Spokesman James Bladon said a total of 35 firefighters were on the scene to tackle the blaze.

“Crews attended initially from Temple Fire Station but once on scene they discovered a well-developed fire involving all three floors of the building,” he said.

“At the height of the fire we had seven fire engines on the scene and a turntable ladder used to deliver water from above.

“Firefighters used jets and hose reels to bring the fire under control. Extensive damage was caused to all floors of the building.”

He added: “There were concerns that the building was being used to sleep rough in. It is currently vacant and not being used. Although there were initial fears, it has been confirmed it was not being used and as a result we don’t believe anyone was injured.”

A structural engineer has been sent to assess the stability of the building and the fire service is launching an investigation into the cause of the blaze.

The A38 in Stokes Croft remains closed in both directions and there is slow traffic between the B4051 Jamaica Street and the A4044 New Bond Street near St James Barton roundabout. Diversions are in place and buses are using an alternative route.