A MILL was badly damaged in a suspected arson attack.

Dozens of firefighters battled the flames at Albert Mill, St Huberts Street, Great Harwood.

The blaze began within Earl Plastics at 8.10pm on Wednesday.

Staff from neighbouring businesses had called 999 after smoke began to fill the corridors between them and the plastics firm.

Six teams of firefighters entered the unit wearing breathing apparatus to tackle the fire which filled a 30 metre by 20 metre section, which was still alight at 9.45pm. Crews were there for five hours in total.

Firefighters also called police to the scene on finding several seats feeding the blaze and what they believed to be suspicious circumstances.

A spokesman said: “The unit on fire had a sprinkler sysem which helped control the fire. The premises were smoke logged and it was very difficult to access. Surrounding units were occupied at the time of the fire but they had evacuated when we arrived.”

Crews from Blackburn, Hyndburn and Great Harwood were called to the mill, tackling the blaze from within wearing breathing apparatus and from an aerial ladder platform above.

Fire crews had need to use breaking tools to access Earl Plastics, which is currently in liquidation.

A large quantity of plastics is thought to have been destroyed and smoke damage caused to the building.

A spokeman for Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service said: “Fire crews ensured people were evacuated for their own safety.

"Though they were not in immediate danger there was the possibility that the blaze could spread to other units.”

Lancashire police confirmed they had been called to the blaze and said they were currently investigating the circumstances. Earl Plastics declined to comment.