A JOINT investigation has been launched after an arsonist set fire to three garages and wooden fences on a residential street.

Crews from Hyndburn and Blackburn were called to Walmesley Street in Rishton at around 7pm on Wednesday to reports of a large fire.

When they arrived, two garages were well alight and the fire was spreading into a third. A car which was being stored inside one of the garages at the time was also damaged.

The four attending crews used two jets and a hose reel to deal with the incident, with firefighters from Hyndburn remaining on the scene for over two hours as they dealt with the aftermath of the blaze.

A fire and rescue service spokesman said: "The police were called to help us investigate the origin of the fire which is thought to be suspicious.

"Nobody was on the scene at the time and no injuries were reported."

An eye-witness reported seeing the fire engines parked close to the fire, and at least half-a-dozen firefighters on the scene.

She said: “I was walking home from work when I first saw the it. I don’t know what started it, but it is insane to see the flames going up.

“I think it must have broken out in a garage as there are some old units there. I just hope nobody is hurt.”

A video on the Lancashire telegraph website shows billowing smoke coming from the garages as the fire ripped through the units. Pictures also show large plumes of smoke high in the sky, which could be seen from miles around.

Ward Councillor for Rishton, Jeff Scales, said it was a relief to know that nobody had been injured in the fire.

He said: "This is concerning behaviour but I would hope this was an isolated event. We have never had any issues with arson or much vandalism in the past so I hope this is a one-off involving people just being stupid rather than anything sinister.

"It is a huge relief to know that nobody was hurt and that there was no damage to the nearby school."

A police spokesman confirmed that the incident was being treated as a crime and said officers would be working to investigate the matter.

Any body with any information is asked to contact them on 101 quoting log number xxxxx of xxxx. Alternatively, contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.