Fire crews tackle shop and flats blaze in Leyland
Fire crews have been tackling a blaze at a shop and flats in Leyland overnight.
The vacant premises in Towngate, near the junction with Broad Street, caught fire at around 12.20am, with five flats above and behind the shop having to be evacuated.
The fire service said passersby spotted the building on fire and called 999 before bravely running into the building to alert those living in the flats above.
The residents were led to safety just moments before the building became engulfed in flames. The fire soon reached to the roof and spread to five neighbouring properties before fire crews brought it under control.
Fire chief Tom Cookson said: “When we arrived we found the first flat to be well alight and spreading to the roof as well as five other shops and five flats above.
"Prior to the arrival of the fire service, passers-by have entered three of the occupied flats and led the occupants to safety."
Eight fire engines, including the stinger appliance and aerial ladder platform, attended the scene and firefighters used two breathing apparatus, four hose reels and one jet to extinguish the fire.
No serious injuries have been reported, but eight people have been treated for smoke inhalation, with one person taken to hospital as a precaution.
An ambulance spokesman said: "We sent a significant response including two emergency ambulances, an advanced paramedic, four Hazardous Area Response Team (HART) members, and an on-scene commander to manage the operation.
"There were eight patients in total and one patient has been taken to the hospital."
Towngate has been closed both ways overnight and is expected to remain shut - between Regent Road and Edward Street - until later today.
The fire service, Cadent gas and United Utilities remain at the scene where they continue to make the scene safe and investigate the cause of the fire.
Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service say the fire is currently under investigation alongside Lancashire Police, but it did not say whether the cause is believed to be suspicious.
A police spokesman said: "We were called at 12.39am today (May 20) to reports of a fire at a tea shop in Towngate, Leyland
"The shop and an above flat have suffered significant damage. Two people were taken to hospital as a precaution.
"An investigation has been launched to establish the cause of the fire.
"Anybody with information can call police, quoting log 0029 of May 20, 2021."
Pictures from the scene show the building has been gutted by the fire, with charred roof beams exposed and its windows shattered.
The fire has damaged also damaged neighbouring shops in the row, including a dog grooming service next door and a newsagents.
Latest update from Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service
A fire service spokesman said: "At 12.22am, eight fire engines, a stinger, an aerial ladder platform and a drone attended an incident at a commercial property and a number of flats on Towngate, Leyland.
"The fire involved five commercial properties and was well alight on arrival.
"Eight casualties suffering the effects of smoke inhalation were assessed by North West Ambulance Service, with one of the casualties being transported to hospital.
"Firefighters used four breathing apparatus, three hose reels and one main jet to extinguish the fire.
"The road remains closed and fire service personnel are at the scene while the incident is investigated."
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