Historic Comrades Club seriously damaged after inferno
A historic building in Blackpool has suffered seriousÂ damaged after a fire raged in the early hours of this morning, say fire services.
More than 50 firefighters from across the county were called to the blaze which broke out at the disused Comrades Club on Adelaide Street at around 5.30am on July 13.
Neighbouring properties were evacuated and residents were told to keep their windows closed as clouds of thick smoke engulfed the road.
Adelaide Street has been closed for most of the day while crews battled the blaze.
Fire services used hose-reel jets, stinger fire engines - to pierce holes in the building's roof to direct a jet of water inside and drone technology to bring the blaze under control.
A spokesman for Lancashire Fire and Rescue said: "We were called to a fire at a disused building early this morning.
"There were no reports of casualties or people inside the building but local residents were evacuated by police as a precaution."
The fire was brought under control by around 9.30am and fire crews remain at the site to damp down.
A watching brief has been set up by crews to ensure that the fire does not re-ignite.
Incident commander Mark Greenwood said: “We have not been able to get into the building yet, which is why we are using aerial platforms.
“The building is unsafe and falling forward.
“We can’t get anyone in there. Obviously this would be different if there were people inside.
“We have a long day ahead of us.
“We are going to be here all day."
The building was formerly the site of the Blackpool Grammar School which was established in 1893.
It was taken over in 1920 by former First World War servicemen who set up the Comrades Club as a place for ex-servicemen to meet.
The Comrades Club closed in 2014 when dwindling member numbers resulted in large financial losses.
Nobody was injured during the incident.