I had a pretty nice evening.  Met up with a couple of friends after a hard day at work, and headed out for a couple of drinks @ ODD bar, in the Northern Quarter.  I'd then arranged to meet an ex-flatmate, just outside the Northern Quarter.  He needed some Unix CLI help, so I was the man.

After sorting out his problems, I realised time had gotten on.. so we wished each other hasty goodbyes, then I headed out of the flat.. only to be greeted by a thick fog, with a light smell of smoke.

After working out that it wasn't his flat that was on fire (or his building), I told him I'd report back, and headed home.  Once I had left the block, I could immediately tell the direction the fire was coming from, and as it was on my way home - I walked towards the fire.

It was at this building.

Realising it was a fairly big event, I phoned up @commanderspike, and he headed out, armed with a camera.

The smoke was high in the air, and lots of it too; massively surprising given that the building on fire looked like a shell.  By the time I arrived (circa 0100), the firemen appeared to have it under control. We watched for a few minutes, and then noticed the fire re-take on the far corner from where we were standing.  However, at that point a couple of appliances left the scene, as the situation was under control.

We have found the building which is causing all the smoke - i... on TwitPic

Fire spotted in Manchester city centre tonight, here is the s... on TwitPic

Here are the fire brigade doing their business. on TwitPic

The building in the city centre on fire appears to be a new d... on TwitPic

I told @commanderspike to tweet, which he duly did.. and I tweeted as soon as I got home. I got a response from @paul_fernley, journalist @ Key103 - and @commanderspike has a journo friend who is also running with the story.

There's also another angle too, as after @commanderspike and I tweeted, we both did a little web-browsing. However @commanderspike came up with the goods with the following tweet:

@commanderspike The site of the fire is the Sarah Tower, a project now on hold due to the credit crunch. http://tinyurl.com/bp8se2 .

It looks like the building company are in massive financial difficulties. Puts a bit of an angle on the story for any journalist wishing to cover it. Hopefully there'll be some coverage tomorrow.. though I've got such a busy day I hope there's not too much!

Read @commanderspike's blog here.

What does this say about 'citizen journalism' and twitter as a news feed? Discuss.

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