THE back wall of a house gutted by fire in the early hours of this morning may have to be demolished.
Five fire engines, including an aerial platform, were called to the semi-derelict property in Rossendale just after midnight.
The crew spent four hours fighting the blaze at the empty detached home in Ashworth Street, Waterfoot.
The high-level platform was needed because of the unstable front wall which is now being assessed to see if it need to be knocked down for safety reasons.
Crew manager Steve Horrocks from Hyndburn fire station said: "Four appliances from our station, Rawtenstall and Bacup were called just after midnight to the fire in a vacant, semi-derelict house.
"It was a problematic fire because the rear wall looked in danger of coming down so we had to call in the aerial platform from Hyndburn fire station.
"Even with this it was am extremely difficult fire with 22 firefighters there for more than four hours.
"The property is next to the site a former mill building now demolished and is now detached from other houses.
"The wall was in danger of coming away from the rest of the building and falling down but not into any other properties so we decided to there was no need to evacuate the surrounding area.
"The building was pretty well destroyed by the fire and the wall may have to be demolished.
"The cause may have been children set light to something in the building and the cause is now being investigated."
This morning a crew of Burnley fire station, building experts and police were at the site assessing the damage to the property and the safety of the wall.
Inspector Martyn Holt of Lancashire Police said this morning: "The building was badly damaged.
"The front wall may be unsafe and have to be demolished."We are at the scene with fire crew examining the situation and investigating the cause.
"It is too early to say what started the fire."