Firefighters are battling a blaze at Chester's historic leadshot tower.
Smoke started billowing out over the city from 18th-century site off Leadworks Lane at 2.23pm today, December 22.
The main fire has now been put out, but Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service cannot reach the top of the tower which is still smouldering.
Two engines remain at the scene with a hydraulic platform monitoring the situation.
They were also drawing water from the Shropshire Union Canal in their attempts to control the blaze.
Many shoppers from the nearby Waitrose store and canal towpath users gathered on steps overlooking the site to view the spectacle. Residents living in nearby apartments gazed out from their balconies. Flames could be seen flickering through windows in the upper floors of the tower.
Diners aboard a floating restaurant had a good view of the scene as the craft glided past firefighters working on the ground.
A manager from Waitrose helped a PCSO to block off a pedestrian footbridge over the canal using chairs before placing official police tape across the front.
A Cheshire Fire spokeswoman said: "Firefighters are currently trying to establish links with a phone company regarding a live mast at the top of the building.
"Internal staircases are unsafe for the crews to use.
"The external lift shaft and stairs are unsuitable for gaining entry to the building."
The fire involves the top of the 168-feet tall shot tower, which is Grade II* listed and has stood for more than 200 years. It is the highest structure in the city and a well known landmark on the skyline.
Chester's lead works were established in the late 18th century to manufacture shot for British muskets during the Napoleonic Wars and shot manufacture continued on the site until 1986.
The lead works officially closed in 2001 when lead engineering specialists Calder relocated to Jupiter Drive on Chester West Employment Park.
Both the City Road junction with Queen's Road and the Shot Tower Close end of City Road have been closed while the incident is dealt with.
An investigation has been launched into the cause of the fire.
In October 2012 planning consent was granted for a residential and commercial scheme incorporating Chester’s historic shot tower but not one brick has been laid. A revised scheme is expected soon.
Do you have any information about the fire? Have you been affected? Tweet us @ChesterChron or let us know in the comments below.