THE centre of Maidenhead is currently shut down as fire rages through a derelict building in Queen Street.

The blaze started in the disused Roma night club shortly before 2am.

A spokesman from the fire service said: "At 1.58am this morning we received reports of a fire in a derelict building in Queen Street, in Maidenhead town centre.

"A total of 12 fire engines and two specialist high reach vehicles were sent to the scene, with approximately 50 firefighters from across Berkshire, supported by Buckinghamshire, Hampshire and London in dealing with the fire.

"There are no casualties reported at this incident. The cause of the fire is unknown at this time, an investigation will be carried out during the day."

Firefighters faced some challenging hazards as they worked. These included a collapsed roof, carbon dioxide cylinders, falling cement and asbestos - half masks needed to be worn.

Leader of the council Simon Dudley is curently following events from the Town Hall in St Ives Road.

He said: "The night club is currently owned by us and along with the other buildings on the three and a half acre site is due to be demolished as part of the regeneration plan for the centre of town.

"The firefighters are working to control it but there is a strong wind that is fanning the flames."

Fire officers tweeted an hour ago: "The surrounding roads will be closed for a number of hours, preventing access to Nicholsons car park on Broadway. We expect to be on scene for most of the day."

The Broadway, Queen Street, King Street, High Street and Park Streetare all affected as well as part of York Road.

Broadway car park and the whole of the Nicholson Centre are both closed and bus services are badly affected.

The closure of Maidenheads has caused traffic chaos all the way back to Windsor with traffic gridlocked and people are advised to avoid the whole area if they can.

UPDATE 13.30

Firefighters are scaling down their efforts having brought the fires under control. But roads remain closed.

They have tweeted their thanks to Sainbury's nearby for sending lunch over to them.