Canal boat torched by suspected arsonists near UCLAN Sports Arena
Fire crews from Preston and Penwortham were called out at 2.06am after receiving reports of a fire on the canal towpath off Dunnock Lane, Cottam.
Two engines attended the scene, close to UCLAN Sports Arena, where a small canal cruiser was found engulfed in flames.
The blaze had spread rapidly throughout the boat, but firefighters managed to bring it under control within 30 minutes using hose reel jets.
Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service (LFRS) confirmed that the cause of the fire was deemed suspicious and the incident has been reported to Lancashire Police.
The boat was not occupied at the time of the fire.
A spokesman for LFRS said: "At 2.06am two fire engines from Preston and Penwortham were mobilised to a fire on the canal towpath off Dunnock Lane, Cottam, Preston.
"The fire involved a small canal cruiser which was well alight upon arrival.
"Crews used one hose reel jet to bring the fire under control and were at the scene for thirty minutes.
"The police were in attendance as the fire was deemed suspicious."
Lancashire Police added: "We can confirm that the fire has been reported to us and enquiries are on-going."
It is not the first time that a canal boat has been targeted by alleged arsonists in Cottam.
Shortly before 11pm on May 23, fire crews were called to Lancaster Canal near Lea Road after a barge was set alight.
The torched barge - moored just a half-mile from this morning's fire - was completely destroyed.
A joint LFRS and Lancashire Police investigation concluded that the fire had been started deliberately.