A carpet and furniture store was ravaged by a fire believed to have been started by a discarded cigarette.
Five fire engines were called to PC Carpets and Beds, on the corner of Lune Street and Fishergate in Preston, at around 6.20pm on Saturday.
Six officers wearing breathing apparatus entered the shop, which was not open at the time and did not have any staff or customers inside.
Mark Evans, crew manager, said: “On arrival flames were issuing from the ground floor and smoke was issuing out of all floors and the roof.
“The damage is severe by heat to the staircase on the ground floor, first floor and second floor, severe by smoke to the showroom and all floors and all of the stock has been damaged by smoke.
“Due to the early intervention of breathing apparatus crews we managed to stop it escalating through the rest of the building.
“The early indications are we think it’s been started by a carelessly discarded cigarette on the ground floor.”
Police closed the road while firefighters worked at the scene for more than two hours.
The crews tackled the blaze using a jet, hose reel and an aerial ladder platform. The fire was brought under control by 7.30pm, by which point the teams began damping down and investigating the fire.
Established in 2002 in Preston, PC Carpets began as a contract carpet fitters and now has two stores, with its second showroom in Watkin Lane, Lostock Hall. It sells carpets, vinyl flooring, laminates and solid wood floors, plus living room, bedroom, and dining room furniture.
The Evening Post was unable to contact the firm’s owners.