Arson investigation under way after Baffito's fire at Preston Docks
An arson investigation is under way after a fire broke out at the former Baffito's restaurant at Preston Docks yesterday (Thursday, April 29).
The derelict building in Navigation Way caught fire at around 6.45pm, with fire crews from Preston and South Ribble called out to tackle the blaze.
It is the second time in five months that the building has caught fire, after arsonists were blamed for a blaze that gutted the former Italian restaurant in December.
Pictures from the scene show firefighters using hose reels and an aerial ladder platform to fight the flames, with the gutted building shrouded in smoke.
Lancashire firefighter and station manager, Ian Armistead, has confirmed that last night's fire is also believed to have been started deliberately.
He tweeted: "Early decisive firefighting tactics quickly prevented the fire from spreading further. Fire is being treated as suspicious and a joint investigation with Preston Police is ongoing."
Tom Powell, acting group manager for Lancashire fire service, added: "Sadly not our first incident at this address. Arson endangers lives and ties up vital Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service resources."
Lancashire Police confirmed that the fire has been reported to the force as suspicious and is under investigation.
Baffito's is set for demolition in the near future with a state-of-the-art care home and apartment block to be built in its place.
Glenholme Wrightcare is behind the plans, with the care home expected to have 64 bedrooms and the apartment block to have 16 flats.