Southampton’s Championship match against Preston on Wednesday evening has been postponed after a huge fire broke out close to the stadium just a few hours before it was due to kick off.

Eighteen fire engines were at the scene of the blaze, which involved four industrial units just yards away from the ground.

The club said: “Southampton Football Club regrets to announce that tonight’s Sky Bet Championship match against Preston North End has been postponed.

“The decision was made after consultation with the local authorities and emergency services after a major fire broke out in a building next to the St Mary’s Stadium site earlier today.

“The incident has caused significant disruption in the area with road closures around the stadium still in place as fire crews continue to deal with the situation.

“We are grateful for the cooperation of Preston and the EFL, and while we appreciate the disappointment fans may feel, we hope they will understand the need to put the safety of supporters and staff of both clubs first.

“The game will be postponed to a new date, which will be announced in due course, and all tickets for tonight’s match will be valid for the rearranged fixture.”

An EFL Spokesperson added: “The EFL can confirm that tonight’s Sky Bet Championship fixture between Southampton and Preston North End has been postponed as a result of health and safety concerns following a fire nearby St Mary’s Stadium.

“The League will liaise with both clubs to determine a suitable date to reschedule the fixture, with details to be confirmed in due course.”

The Hampshire & Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service responded to an emergency call just after 1pm.

The fire service said: “Crews are currently attending a fire in Marine Parade Southampton. The fire is affecting industrial units near St Mary’s football stadium.

Southampton Fire

“People in the area are advised to keep windows and doors closed due to the amount of smoke.

“Some roads local to the incident are closed and people are advised to avoid the area to allow movements of emergency vehicles.”

Accountant Chris Harwood posted footage of the fire filmed from the north of the stadium, on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Harwood, 25, told the PA news agency: “We could see a large smoke cloud from our office in Ocean Village, Southampton, at lunch so decided to walk towards it to work out where it was coming from.”

Southampton are fourth in the Championship, eight points adrift of the automatic promotion places, while Preston are just four points off the play-offs.