Neighbours living close to the devastated former church today told how they were evacuated from their homes as the flames ripped through the building.
People near the former Spiritualist Church on Moor Lane, close to the University of Central Lancashire, were evacuated shortly after 11pm on Monday as flames leapt from the roof of the building just yards away.
After being told they had to leave for their safety by police, many spent the night in temporary accommodation provided by the university.
It could be tomorrow before some are allowed back into their properties.
Psychology research degree student Eirini Tatsi, 30, lives in flats next to the church building in Moor Lane.
She said: “I was in my flat with my boyfriend and we heard someone knocking on the door. We didn’t give it too much attention, I thought it was a stranger or someone from next door.
“Then I saw the lights from the fire truck and saw my neighbours running away.
“I went outside and there were lights, people around watching, firemen.
“The police took us to the security centre building and then they gave us a room in the accommodation.
“I was not panicking about it at first but I didn’t think it would be so big.”
Around 12 students were taken to the security centre and then to the Harrington building.
International tourism management student Nick Papadopoulos, 26, lives on the ground floor of the same block of flats.
He was heading home after the fire broke out.
He said: “When I came back it had already started.
“I thought it was something from our building, then I saw it was next door to us.
“They took us to the Harrington building at the university and gave us cushions and pillows. We were all worrying about this, no one could sleep, it was impossible.
“I have to be at work at 11 o clock and I have not managed to eat or anything.
“I thought it was my own house, I thought it was something which had been left on. I was worried about the lives of people on the second and third floor.”
Bernadette Bradbury, 48, lives in a flat on the corner of Adelphi Street, close to the fire. She was also evacuated and stayed at her son’s house in Fulwood.
She said: “The police came and knocked on my door. They told me not to worry, not to panic, because I was panicking last night.
“There was a fire truck on the road and a helicopter was going around.
“Of course I was worried because I have just moved in. I just managed to grab one of my suitcases. It was scary.”
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