A huge fire has been burning for 16 hours at the industrial estate in Leyland, affecting 35,000 sq ft of business premises.
The fire is thought to have originated from a large warehouse storing tissue paper, fueling the flames. It quickly spread, engulfing an adjacent property that contained chemicals as over 100 firefighters attempted to quell the blaze.
Once the chemicals were alight, firefighters evacuated local residents over fears of dangerous fumes being released by the fire.
A technical support team quickly established that the chemical was not harmful, however, the local residents are still being advised to stay inside and keep all windows and doors shut.
Four or five properties have been destroyed in the fire, which has now been contained but is not expected to be put out for two to three days.
Firefighters were met with a well developed fire after they were called to the industrial estate at 17:09 Wednesday evening after an automatic fire alarm alerted them to the incident.
Initially, firefighters initially had to withdraw from the scene for their own safety, tackling the fire from a distance – reported the Lancashire Fire & Rescue Service.
At the height of the incident yesterday evening around 150 firefighters and twenty fire engines were at the scene as emergency services were tasked with controlling the blaze.
Phil Halsall, chief executive of Lancashire county council, praised the emergency services for the way they brought the incident under control. “This was a very serious fire and it is a testament to their efforts that it appears nobody has been injured,” he said.
Mr Halsall continued: “At the moment we only have limited access to the site and once we get the all clear we will make a full assessment of the damage.”
Looking ahead, Mr Halsall commented: “For the tenants whose buildings have been caught up in the blaze it is clearly devastating news but, as far as possible, we will return operations on the business park to normal as quickly as we can.”
The main West Coast Railway Line remains shut between Preston and Bolton as smoke continues to blow across the tracks and because of beer barrels exploding in the close vicinity. A number of roads are also closed in the area and they will remain shut until it is safe for them to re-open.
The Fire Service does not know how the fire started at this moment in time.