HOMES had to be evacuated as a fire spread through an electrical factory in Colne.

The incident happened at Asquith Electrics in 1980, and caused hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of damage.

Heat from the blaze was so intense that nearby houses were evacuated and fire crews were forced to use water from Colne baths to extinguish the flames.

Windows in Walton Street, opposite the factory, cracked from the heat and paintwork on doors blistered.

At its peak, the flames could be seen for miles and firefighters from all surrounding stations were called to attend.

A senior spokesperson from Asquith's said: "The block involved contains all our administrative section and one of the drawing offices. Our records have been burned out."

Divisional fire office James Hindle said: "At this stage we have no idea about the cause. It's possible we may never know because of the amount of damage."