THIS dramatic picture shows a fire at India Mill, Darwen, in 1908.

It was caused by hot tar being used to repair the roof following a bizarre accident involving an ‘exploding’ boiler from a nearby factory days before.

In that incident, the eight ton boiler, used for pumping water at Darwen Paper company’s Dimmocks Mill. exploded and flew 200 feet in the air before crashing through the roof of India Mill and ending on the sixth floor where it smashed a spinning mule.

Workmen repairing the hole in the roof caused by the boiler had just knocked off for the day when the blaze started.

Mill workers tackled the blaze before the fire brigade arrived.

Firemen had to build a temporary hoist using planks and ropes to haul buckets of sand to the roof and successfully put out the fire in less than an hour.

Crowds gathered to watch as the burning tar caused plumes of smoke to rise into the sky which could be seen all over the town but the fire proved to be more spectacular than serious, causing minimal damage to the mill itself.