Firefighter killed, three missing in warehouse blaze

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LONDON, Nov 3 (Reuters) A firefighter died and three others were missing after they were called to a huge blaze at a warehouse in central England, emergency services said today.

More than 80 firefighters tackled the fire which broke out yesterday evening at a vegetable packing warehouse on an industrial estate near Stratford upon Avon in Warwickshire.

Large parts of the roof collapsed as flames engulfed the building, an ambulance service spokesman said. Three firefighters are missing inside the building.

''This has to be one of the darkest days in the history of emergency services in Warwickshire,'' said West Midlands Ambulance Service Chief Executive Anthony Marsh.

Fire crews worked through the night to bring the blaze under control. Television pictures showed the scene still shrouded in thick smoke as dawn broke.

''We are deeply shocked,'' said Warwickshire County Council's Chief Fire Officer William Brown. ''Our hearts, thoughts and prayers go out to the families and friends of our firefighters.'' Police are treating the fire as suspicious. The cause of the blaze is not yet known.

''A full investigation into the cause of this fire has already begun,'' said Chief Superintendent Mak Chishty, of Warwickshire Police.

REUTERS PD PM1330

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