Lancashire

Firefighters contain blaze at Leyland business park

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Media captionKeith Marsh, Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service: "The fire is now dying down. As far as I'm aware there's been no damage to life or limb"

Fire crews have been tackling a severe blaze at a business park in Lancashire.

The fire, which has destroyed five buildings, started at about 17:00 GMT at the Lancashire Enterprise Business Park in Leyland.

Up to 150 firefighters were sent to the scene, with several main roads closed in the area and rail travel disrupted.

The fire service said the blaze had now been contained and was "dying down" but it could take two or three days to put it out completely.

There have been no reports of injuries. Twenty fire appliances dealt with the fire initially. Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service said at 03:30 GMT, eight vehicles remained with up to 40 firefighters.

Paul Richardson, deputy chief fire officer for Lancashire, said the buildings involved in the fire had been "virtually destroyed".

"We were faced with quite a rapidly developing fire when we first arrived," he said.

Explosions heard

Crews have spent the last few hours making sure the blaze does not spread to adjacent properties.

Those who live nearby have been advised to keep their windows closed to avoid smoke getting in.

Twenty homes were evacuated before it was established that the smoke coming from the blaze was not toxic.

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Media captionAmateur footage of the fire

A fire service spokesman said it had been reported that there were chemicals in one of the buildings.

He said the Environment Agency and a chemical analyst have been working at the site and the "hazards are very low risk, if any".

Mr Richardson said one of the buildings involved had been storing toilet paper, a "ready-made fuel for fire", and some had wide areas of air space which had allowed the fire to circulate and spread quickly.

It is believed that several explosions heard in the area came from beer barrels in one of the buildings.

Ian Smith, who lives nearby, said: "There have been numerous explosions and there is thick black smoke blowing across the estate we live on.

"The police have been coming around telling everyone to keep their windows closed and are turning anyone back who is trying to go closer to look at the fire.

"We've got two small children so we are just waiting to see which way it blows, hopefully we will be alright.

"Judging by the size and severity of the blaze I suspect that this will last well into the morning."

Train delays

A cordon has been put in place and motorists have been told to avoid the area if possible due to a number of road closures.

Network Rail said the fire had caused major delays of up to two hours between Preston and Wigan North West and Bolton.

A spokesman for the fire service said "there is nothing to suggest anybody is any danger".

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