A HOUSE blaze which broke out following a street disturbance between two groups is being treated as suspicious.

Two fire crews and police were called to Oxford Street, in Brierfield, at 8.14pm on Sunday after a passer- by spotted flames coming out of an open front door.

The blaze is believed to have started in the terrace home after someone forced open the front door and set fire to the hall.

Nobody was inside the house at the time of the blaze, but there was severe fire and smoke damage to the hall and rest of the house.

Earlier that evening, neighbours had contacted the police after hearing a commotion in the street.

A 27-year-old man not connected to the blaze was arrested for affray at 6pm.

Neighbour Teresa Waterhouse, 46, said: “Earlier on I heard something kicking off in the street.

“There were people shouting racist abuse, and a commotion and, at one point, someone slammed into my front door, knocking it open.

“Then, after about an hour, there were fire engines outside and flames blazing out of the front window of a nearby property.

“It was a hugely intimidating series of events that has left me not feeling secure about living here any more.”

Nelson watch manager Roy Edwards said: “We are treating the incident as deliberate, and are working with the police to establish more details surrounding how the fire started.

“The hall was badly fire damaged, and there was severe smoke damage to the rest of the property, which has meant it is currently uninhabitable .”

A spokesperson for Lancashire Police said: “The incident is being treated as suspected arson. As no-one was in the house, there were no injuries.”

Anyone who witnessed the fire should call the police on 101.