Old Spiritual Church in Preston damaged by fire

Lancashire Fire Service
Image caption Seven fire engines and about 40 firefighters tackled the fire

A large fire that severely damaged a former church in Preston is being treated as suspicious, Lancashire Fire Service has said.

The blaze at the Old Spiritual Church on Moor Lane began at about 23:00 GMT, on Monday.

Seven fire engines and about 40 firefighters tackled the fire.

Several nearby homes were evacuated and Moor Lane has been closed in both directions between Fylde Street and the A6.

Mikki Wright, an 18-year-old student who lives near to the church, said: "I live across the road from the church on Moor Lane and I noticed the smoke.

"The roof looked like it was caving in - but we didn't feel in danger as the police didn't move us on."

Tony Crook, incident commander for Lancashire Fire Service, said: "The firefighters did an excellent job using the resources they had to stop the fire from spreading to any other building.

"The residents who were evacuated will be allowed to go back in to their homes once a structural engineer has declared the building safe."

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites