THREE adults and a child were rescued by fire crews when their car got trapped in four feet of water during yesterday’s heavy rain.

They were forced to abandon their vehicle when the engine cut out as they attempted to drive through a ‘puddle’ which was deeper than they thought.

Fire crews were called to help the family who were attempting to cross the ford in Smithy Lane, Colne.

They climbed out of the vehicle and managed to get on a footbridge and called the fire service out at 11.27am.

Ten firefighters, from Nelson and Colne, had to wade into the water to bring them to safety.

John Taylor, Lancashire Fire and Rescue spokesman, said: “The driver went through a puddle, attempting to drive through it.

“The engine became swamped in the four foot of water.

“They clambered out of the car and on to the footbridge where they called for help.

“It was a dramatic rescue. We were glad to have helped out. It must have been quite a shock to the system for those people in the car.

“It wasn’t a high-tech rescue, but they helped back to dry land and taken to Colne fire station afterwards for tea and sympathy.”

The incident happened as East Lancashire was placed on a flood alert by the Environment Agency, with more rain forecast last night.

After two days of persistent rain, the weir at Whalley was transformed into a raging torrent, while trees were submerged under the swollen River Calder at Whalley.

In Clitheroe, Pimlico Brook was in danger of bursting and flooding properties. The River Ribble at Ribchester also threatened to burst its banks.

Sports pitches across the area were also flooded including Accrington and East Lancashire cricket clubs.

There were 38 flood alerts and 22 flood warnings across the North West yesterday morning.

John Taylor, from Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service, added: “There was lots of rain forecast across the county.

“The fire service have attended flooding across the county.

“By yesterday morning, we had received 60 calls related to flooding. We turned out to the 20 that threatened life or property.

“We will of course react immediately to any threats to life or trapped persons.”

Residents in Earby, usually one of the worst affected areas for flooding, were also monitoring the situation, with town council officials on standby to issue extra sandbags if necessary. Only three requests for sandbags had been made by residents in Pendle by late afternoon.

Several other known problem areas in Bacup, Stubbins and Edenfield were broadly unaffected although there was some fording on low-lying roads.

Coun Darryl Smith, who represents Eden ward, said: “The only thing, following on from the previous flooding, is that work has been affected on repairing the collapsed culvert at Strongstry.

“Scaffolding has been put across so residents can move freely but the rain has meant that the banking has been affected. We had been hoping that they were in a position to get some of the work done.”

Residents and shops in Todmorden, which has seen repeated flooding, were also issued with sandbags as flood alerts remained on the River Calder up to Brighouse. A Ribble Valley Council spokeswoman said services had not been disrupted.

She said: “There is lots of low level surface water, but we have not been notified of any flooding.”

Meanwhile persistent rain has made life difficult for farmers in East Lancashire.

National Farmers’ Union spokesman Carl Hudspith said: “There are a number of concerns with consistent rain.

“Our main concern is drainage and when flooding does occur in fields we talk with the Environment Agency about how we can deal with it.

“We encourage our members to make contact with us it they have any problems as a result of the weather.”

However there were no flooding reports made to fire crews from Burnley, Rawtenstall and Nelson stations.

The Met Office said drier weather was forecast for the rest of the week and weekend, with a brief return to blustery and rainy conditions on Friday.

A spokesman said rain was expected to clear last night and the low pressure to move south.

The forecast for today is bright spells with some showers, but generally dry.

Tomorrow wil see dry conditions throughout with wind and rain returning on Friday. Saturday is expected to feature dry, cloudy weather with bright spells with similar to come on Sunday.