AN INVESTIGATION has begun after the vacant Barry Docks Constitutional Club was engulfed in flames last night.

Emergency services were called to the scene as the Station Street premises, which has planning permission for flats, threatened to collapse.

Around 40 firefighters tackled the blaze which took five hours to extinguish - after it was first reported around 8.10pm.

Six fire crews, from Barry and the Vale of Glamorgan, attended.

Police imposed road closures and diverted vehicles and Dock View Road remains closed.

The fire was put out at 1.10am this morning, but firefighters remain at the scene dampening down to make the area safe.

A family living nearby were evacuated, but no-one was injured as a result of the blaze.

A statement issued by South Wales Police said: "Local residents, particularly those in neighbouring streets, are urged to stay away from the site and to keep windows and doors shut due to the level of smoke emitting from the fire."

A crowd gathered to watch the activity as the flames continued to take hold.

Residents took to social media to voice their horror and concern about the blaze which they could see from their homes.

One person reported that the smoke could be seen as far away as Weston-super-Mare.

Twitter user @blackcoffeelady wrote: "Such a scary view. Forever grateful for the work that you do, can't imagine how much courage it takes"

High Street butcher Anthony Hopkins was in the area when he heard about the fire and went to the scene.

Mr Hopkins said: "Sadly it was getting worse when I was there about 9.30pm. The street was full of people.”

The now derelict club, established in 1894, closed its doors to trade for the last time in 2013.

A Hafod Housing Association planning application to construct 21 self-contained apartments together with onsite parking and amenity facilities, was lodged in 2015.