Exeter fire crews fought a blaze in a three storey building in Exeter’s Southernhay this morning.
Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus forced entry into an office building in the area.
The fire is believed to have started at Pertemps Recruitment and ripped through the basement and ground floor.
All four stories of the building have suffered smoke damage and heat across the ground floor has caused a front window to smash (see image).
Fire incident commander Gerald Taylor told the Echo they received the call at 7:24am this morning and sent six fire engines to the scene.
The alarm had sounded and the initial crew found smoke billowing behind from the annexe behind the building.
30-35 firefighters dealt with the incident and investigators are currently looking into the cause of the blaze.
Rich Norman who works for Redmayne-bentley stockbrokers next to the recruitment agency said:
"I turned up for work at 7:30am as usual this morning and there was already a lady standing outside the office saying she could smell smoke and had called the fire brigade. I could smell smoke in the offices when i went inside and within several minutes fire engines turned up."
At 0749hrs crews on scene requested a further two appliances which was mobilised from Danes Castle and Topsham, together with support appliances from Exmouth.
At 8am crews called in further two appliances from Topsham and Credition.
At 09:15 Six fire crews still tackling the blaze.
Crews confirmed fire in rear of building three storey terraced office block to be well alight and at work with four breathing apparatus, three hose reel jets and one main jet.
Eight crews from Exeter, Topsham and Crediton are on the scene. There are no reports of injuries.
Southernhay East is currently closed.
@LawrenceShaw wrote on Twitter:
"Big fire breaking out in central Exeter - apparently in legal offices. Smoke rising above city."
The incident is also affecting Southernhay West at Barnfield road.
The public are being asked to avoid the area.