A SUSPICIOUS fire ripped through a former working men’s club.

Police have launched an investigation following the blaze in Oswaldtwistle today.

More than 20 firefighters were called to the boarded-up National Association Club in Mill Hill this afternoon, and pumped water up from Tinker Brook to help put out the flames.

The building was empty at the time, and neighbours said the club closed down about two years ago.

Watch manager Lee Cook, who was first on the scene, said: “We got the call at about 4pm and when we arrived there was heavy smoke coming from the rear of the building.

“It’s being treated as suspicious at the moment and there’s a joint investigation taking place with the police.”

The fire was believed to have started in a storage area next to the bar and caused extensive damage to the ground floor.

>> For more details and pictures, see tomorrow's Lancashire Telegraph