Dozens of firefighters battled a huge blaze after it ripped through a Preston building, which houses a Muslim education centre and a motorcyle shop.
The fire broke out in the four-storey building in Kent Street Deepdale, at 4.30pm Friday.
Around 50 neighbours watched in the snow as 10 fire crews with two aerial platform ladders and a hazardous materials unit fought the flames that could be seen raging through the former Thorn Electrical building, home to the Iqra Education Centre and Biker Asylum shop. Plumes of smoke shot 100ft into the air and could be seen as far away as Garstang Road.
It is understood that there were several people in the building around the time the fire broke out.
A spokesman for Lancashire’s fire service said that those in the building were safely evacuated.
The cause has yet to be confirmed, although it is not believed to be suspicious.
Ryan Holland, whose uncle runs the bike shop, said: “My uncle sent me down here because there are hundreds of bikes in there, but the police wouldn’t let us through to get anything.”
The fire brigade spokesman said that of the 60 bikes inside the shop many were salvaged by the fire crews.
One Kent Street resident said: “Thankfully there was no-one in the building.”
Police cordoned off Kent Street at the junction with St George’s Road, as fire crews fought to bring the blaze under control.
Taxi driver Peter Tyson spotted the fire brigades arriving at the property around 4.30pm yesterday.
He said: “There was smoke billowing out and the fire brigade was just getting there then, but there were a lot of engines arriving.
“It is a big warehouse that stretches right down Kent Street, and there are a number of other properties attached to it.”
Another eye-witness said he spotted the fire from Great George Street, Deepdale.
He aded: “The police shut off Kent Street at the junction with St George’s Road and Great George Street and I saw smoke and an intense orange glow.”
A spokesman for Lancashire Police said officers had been called in to close Great George Street, St Paul’s Road, Frank Street and Kent Street in the Deepdale area.
She said: “We have moved a number of people out of business premises in the area as there is some concern that the fire could spread to other neighbouring building or that the building could even collapse.”
The spokesman for the fire brigade said the blaze was believed to have caused structural damage to the building.
Video supplied by Ryan Lahiff