FIFTY firefighters tackled a massive blaze as flames reached more than 30 feet high.

Two dozen people were evacuated from their homes as a result of the fire, involving 3,000 wooden pallets, which could be ‘seen for miles’.

Trains were also cancelled because the blaze was next to the main East Lancashire railway line and roads were shut off, causing disruption to bus services.

Ten fire engines and crews were called out to the fire in Enfield Road, Huncoat, which started yesterday afternoon.

Windows and guttering of some houses in Alder Grove, where residents were evacuated, melted from the heat, according to a fire crew manager.

Stephen Marshall, spokesman for the fire service at the scene, said: “When we arrived at about 1.30pm, the flames were 30 feet high.

“About 24 people were evacuated from their houses.

“Windows and guttering at the back of houses in Alder Grove had melted.

“We had 10 fire engines on the scene.

“We were concerned about gas cylinders which might contain propane gas.

“All of our crews have worked really hard to tackle this.”

An aerial ladder platform with a high volume pump was used to hose down the area and crews were operating from a mobile command centre.

An investigation is now underway to establish the cause of the fire.

Alex Pearson, 24, of Alder Grove, said: “We saw flames taller than the house.

“The train line behind our house is singed.

“If the trees at the bottom of our house had caught light, the whole house would have been gone.”

Resident Denise Pollard, 47, from Birch Close, said: “I rushed home to get our dogs out of the house because they had evacuated all of Birch Close.

“There were damaged houses at the back of Alder Grove and the back of my brother-in-law’s house has melted.

“The palettes were stacked as high as buildings.”

Resident Martin Papper, 57, said: “We saw smoke and heard lots of bangs.

“The fire services were here within minutes.

“The firm makes wooden palettes and recondition palettes at the site.”

There were disruptions to railway services between Blackburn and York, as well as the Northern Rail line to Colne.

Passengers experienced severe delays throughout the afternoon.

Police were also directing road traffic from the junction of Bolton Avenue and Whinney Hill Road because of the fire.

PC Paul Wolstenholme said: “There were about three PCSOs called out, two on responses with road closures, a sergeant and two other officers.

“We evacuated four houses, though thankfully most people were at work.

“We advised people to keep their windows and doors closed.

“I saw it from the top of Willows Lane, so it could be be seen for miles.”

National Rail said: “A lineside fire at Huncoat caused disruption to trains between Blackburn and Rose Grove.

“Trains were unable to run between Accrington and Rose Grove and road transport was requested to operate between Accrington, Rose Grove and Todmorden.”

The fire service said no one had been injured in the fire, although it had generated a large plume of smoke.

No-one from the pallet company was available to comment.