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Large fire at former Blackburn presbytery
A HUGE blaze tore through an old Blackburn presbytery in a suspected arson attack.
The large detached property was ‘gutted’ in the blaze which is undestood to have started on the second floor of St John the Vianney RC Church presbytery, in Livesey Branch Road, at around 8pm yesterday (Sept 19).
Two crews, one from Blackburn and another from Darwen, attended the incident and police officers directed traffic away from the burning derelict building over concerns the fire had caused it to become structurally unsafe and to make sure firefighters could access a water supply from accross the road.
Blackburn crew manager Chris Foggarty said fire investigators are now looking into the cause of the blaze.
He said: “When we got there the flames were coming through the roof and the extent of the damage meant the structure became unsafe.
“It had started in one of the upstairs room and had travelled through the roof space. “Youths had been seen round the area and we believe they may have set fire to the property.
“It was dangerous for crews because quite a lot of the floors were missing where wiring has been stolen.
“We had a risk of falling through the floor and the roof falling dow at the same time. “It was quite treacherous.”
Inspector Ilyas Mohmed, of Blackburn police, said: “We were alerted to a fire at the old St John the Vianney vicarage by fire crews around 8.15pm.
“When we arrived the fire was well alight and had spread to the roof.
“As yet we do not know how the fire has stated but fire investigators are working to identify the source."
Anyone with information should call police on 101.
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