A MAN is in a serious condition in hospital after being rescued from a flat fire.

Firefighters rescued the man, who is in his 60s, from the property above Omer’s Barbers in Accrington Road, Blackburn.

Four fire engines were sent to the scene at 8.15pm on Monday and crews remained at the scene until midnight.

A man was taken to Royal Blackburn Hospital, where his condition has been described as ‘serious’.

An arson investigation has been launched, although no arrests have been made.

Katherine Hull, 46, who lives on Accrington Road, said: “Someone was trapped upstairs in the flat, and then carried out and given first aid by firefighters.

“They broke the door down to get to him and, as I was walking to the shop, I saw a fireman with the man on his back. The road was blocked off too.

“I didn’t know the man personally, but I know that he ran the barbershop and was quite popular.”

A neighbour said: “I got a phone call from the fire team to tell me they had to force entry into my house. They climbed out the window because they needed to get to the back. 

“I could smell smoke when I got in last night, but they did check it was safe first. I can’t believe this has happened, I only moved in three days ago.”

The owner of the Yex Oriental Shop was surprised to hear what had happened.

She said: “I didn’t see anything until I came to work today and couldn’t park anywhere.

“I saw the police car and I thought maybe something happened but I didn’t think it was as serious as this.

“That’s really shocked me, I can’t believe this has happened here.”

The owners of the Intack Second Hand Shop said: “We were watching from the window. At first we thought it was just an accident. We saw a man being held by police too, and another man being rescued.

“Everyone was outside and they cordoned off the road, we just hope the man is okay.”

A fire service spokesman said: “Four fire crews from Blackburn and Hyndburn were called to a building fire on Accrington Road, Blackburn, involving a flat above a commercial premise.

"Firefighters rescued a casualty from the flat and used six breathing apparatus, two hose reels and a ventilation unit to extinguish the fire. Also in use was a thermal imaging camera and some lighting equipment.

"The casualty was taken to hospital by ambulance crews. Fire crews were in attendance approximately three hours and thirty minutes and a full investigation into the fire is now underway.”

A police spokesman confirmed they are aware of the incident and that nobody has been arrested.