Rush hour road closures near Lancaster Canal in Preston after boat is torched by arsonists

A stretch of the Lancaster Canal in Preston has been closed this morning after a barge was set on fire.

Thursday, 23rd May 2019, 9:09 am
Updated Thursday, 23rd May 2019, 10:09 am
Police are investigating after a barge was set on fire by arsonists on the Lancaster Canal, near Lea Road, in Preston (May 23)

Police are investigating after a barge caught fire on the canal near Lea Road at 10.58pm last night (Wednesday, May 22).

The canal remains closed this morning to barges and its towpath closed to cyclists and walkers.

Police have also put a road block in place between Lea Road and Lea Lane, which is likely to affect rush hour traffic.

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Police are investigating after a barge was set on fire by arsonists on the Lancaster Canal, near Lea Road, in Preston (May 23)

Nearby Sidgreaves Lane has also been closed to traffic.

Fire crews from Wesham and Penwortham battled the blaze for an hour with hose reels.

Due to the rural location of the burning barge, firefighters had to rely on portable pumps to carry water to the scene.

The fire was reported by a member of the public but the boat was empty when fire crews arrived.

Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service (LFRS) said the fire is believed to have been started deliberately.

Fire crews reported the suspected arson to police and Lancashire Police confirmed it is investigating the incident.

A spokesman for LFRS said: "We were called out at 10.58pm last night to reports of a barge on fire near Darkinson Lane.

"Teams from Wesham and Penwortham attended and used hose reels and portable water pumps.

"The teams were at the scene for an hour.

"There are no reports of causalities and no-one had to be rescued.

"The cause of the fire is being investigated but it is believed to have been started deliberately."

We were called at around 10:55pm last night (Wednesday, May 22nd) to the report of a boat on fire in the Lancaster Canal close to Darkinson Lane, Lea Town, Preston.A spokesman for Lancashire Police added: "Officers and colleagues from the Fire Service attended and a joint investigation is underway into the cause of the fire."A section of the canal remains closed with no access between Lea Lane and Lea Road. Sidgreaves Lane is also currently blocked. This is whilst we carry our inquiries and so we apologise for any inconvenience this may cause for local residents.

"The closure will remain in place until further notice."If you have any information about the incident, please call Lancashire Police on 101 quoting incident reference 1654 of May 22.