UPDATE 5: Sta Venera fire brought under control
A fierce fire in a large warehouse at Sta Venera was brought under control by firefighters at about 7 p.m. today, some four hours after it broke out.
The fire caused major damage to the warehouse, which belongs to Francis Busuttil and Sons. Five fire engines and bowsers were employed to control the blaze in the two storey building, with firemen required to wear breathing apparatus.
The owner, Francis Busuttil, said the warehouse contained food and other grocery items and toiletries.
"There were some 20 workers inside, the fire spread very quickly, but they all got out safely," an eyewitness said.
At one time policemen and Civil Protection Department employees used a forklifter from the warehouse to remove cars from the back of the building to enable fire engines to be deployed from that area too. Neighbours who live in homes behind the warehouse were evacuated.
No one has been injured, other than a fireman who was treated for a slight injury to one of his arms.
Magistrate Silvio Meli is to hold an inquiry tomorrow morning.
Pictures: The plume of smoke over Sta Venera seen from Ta' Paris, Birkirkara (Sven Bonnici), and (right) firemen access the warehouse blaze through a window (Jason Borg).