An arson investigation has been launched after a fierce fire ripped through part of Preston city centre.
Watch manager Mark Woodward, of Preston fire station, said the fire at the lock-up garage on Old Cock Yard in the city centre on Saturday evening was being treated as “deliberate.”
Four crews from Preston, Fulwood and Bamber Bridge stations tackled the blaze for two-and-a-half hours from 6.25pm.
The blaze started in a wooden garage used for storage on the alley, off Syke Street.
The fire chief said the crews had feared the flames could spread to neighbouring buildings, including city centre bars and nightclubs.
Watch manager Woodward said: “The building was mainly woode in construction with a lot of wooden material inside, so it created a lot of heat and smoke in a very confined space.
“Firefighters in breathing apparatus worked well in very difficult conditions to prevent it spreading to other buildings.”
He said police patrols, which have been increased in the city centre as part of the search for escaped criminal, Ivan Leach, had found the fire and raised the alarm.