Explosions heard during Oswaldtwistle mill fire

Aftermath of mill fire
Image caption The roof of the former mill collapsed during the fire

Firefighters were forced to pull out of a fire at a former mill in Lancashire following a series of explosions.

About 60 firefighters were called to the listed building in Oswaldtwistle after smoke began billowing from the roof in the early hours.

A number of homes were evacuated as crews began tackling the flames, which were eventually brought under control using jets from aerial platforms.

The fire completely destroyed the roof and the building may now be demolished.

Incident commander David Russel said crews had faced dangerous conditions.

Firefighters praised

Fire crews from Hyndburn, Darwen, Blackburn, Haslingden, Rawtenstall, Burnley, Great Harwood and Preston attended the fire on Rhyddings Street, which broke out about 0200 BST.

About 18 people were moved from a row of terraced homes next to the mill, which is occupied by a furniture business and a car body repair centre.

Image caption Firefighters have returned to the scene for investigation

Crews entered the building to tackle the fire inside but were forced to withdraw by the explosions.

Mr Russel said: "The firefighters did an excellent job and at times, the conditions they faced were dangerous and they had to use their skill and bravery to stop the fire from spreading.

"We will be remaining at the scene for most of the day to ensure all pockets of fire have been extinguished and the building remains safe."

The cause of the fire is still unknown and an investigation will begin once the building is safe to examine.

Structural engineers are currently assessing whether it should be knocked down.

Residents were sent to the Civic Centre in Oswaldtwistle.

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