The Grosvenor Museum in Chester has been evacuated this afternoon Monday (April 3).

A Cheshire police spokesman said it was due to 'smoke in the basement'.

Emergency services have closed off Grosvenor Street after being called out at about midday.

More updates as we can get them below.

The fire engines have all left the scene so that’s it for the live updates.

Thanks for following our blog of today’s incident.

'Closed until further notice'

Cause of 'burning' revealed

A spokesperson for Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service has said: “A light fitting is believed to have been the cause of burning at a Chester museum.

“Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus searched the building and, finding the source, isolated the fitting and removed it from the ceiling.”

Images from the 2015 training exercise

Firefighters rescue staff and salvage artefacts during an exercise held at Chester's Grosvenor Museum in September 2015.
Firefighters rescue staff and salvage artefacts during an exercise held at Chester's Grosvenor Museum in September 2015.
Firefighters rescue staff and salvage artefacts during an exercise held at Chester's Grosvenor Museum in September 2015.
Firefighters rescue staff and salvage artefacts during an exercise held at Chester's Grosvenor Museum in September 2015.
Firefighters rescue staff and salvage artefacts during an exercise held at Chester's Grosvenor Museum in September 2015.
Firefighters rescue staff and salvage artefacts during an exercise held at Chester's Grosvenor Museum in September 2015.

School trips cut short

Schoolchildren on an outing to the museum are among those who were evacuated

Exercise held in 2015 bears similarities to today's incident

Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service held a large scale exercise at Grosvenor Museum in September 2015 based on a fire scenario with some similarities to that which appears to have taken place in real life this afternoon.

Up to 50 firefighters in 10 appliances descended on the grade-II listed building, which house priceless treasures, for a two-hour exercise based on a salvage plan devised by West Cheshire Museums.

Fire crews arrived at the museum shortly after 7pm to discover that a ‘fire’ that began in the basement - the same location as the smoke seen in today’s incident - was fast taking hold of the four-storey building.

The salvage plan, which sets out a priority-driven strategy to save artefacts in the event of a fire or flood, is a nationally recognised ‘gold standard’ used as a template by museums nationwide.

Full evacuation has taken place, say council

Alison Knight, director of place strategy, said: “Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service and Cheshire police are currently on site at the Grosvenor Museum following reports of smoke in the building.

“The building has been fully evacuated and visitors and staff have been moved to a safe distance. The safety of the public is our priority.”

Reporter en route

Our reporter Mike Fuller is on his way to the scene now so there will be more details about this unfolding incident as we have them

Bus services affected

Stagecoach say its services will divert through Handbridge

Picture of the scene

Fire crews are at the scene of a fire at Grosvenor Museum in Chester
Fire crews are at the scene of a fire at Grosvenor Museum in Chester (Image: Tony Chester)

Grosvenor Street closed

The museum lies off Grosvenor Street, which has been closed by emergency services.

Drivers must find another way out of the city centre.

There is no timetable yet for when it will reopen.

Five fire engines

The Grosvenor Museum has been evacuated this afternoon.

Eyewitnesses have said there are five fire engines on the scene in Grosvenor Street.

Cheshire Police confirmed they have been called out to assist.

Further updates as we get them.