A DISTRAUGHT father-of-three says his family have been left temporarily homeless by the fire at a former snooker club in Blackburn.

The blaze at John's Snooker and Pool Bar in Clayton Street started at around 9.30am on Sunday.

Now Kays Younis, who lives nearby in St Peter Street and was evacuated as the fire intensified, says he has not been allowed to return to his home because the snooker club building is unsafe.

He says his wife and children, including a newborn baby girl, have had to be taken in by family friends living in Beardwood, Blackburn.

And he is frustrated because he has repeatedly complained about anti-social behaviour at the former club to the authorities.

Mr Younis, 39, said: "I'm at my wits' end. I've been telling police and the council about this building for the last eight years.

"It's easy to access and has not been boarded up. I've seen people taking drugs in there, selling drugs at the back, even having sex.

"I just wish the council would do something about it.

"I've been told now that I can't go back to my house because building control have to assess the building and they're unsure about how safe it is.

"I have three children and a baby girl who was born two days ago. We're effectively homeless.

"It's only thanks to the kindness of my friend that I have anywhere to go tonight."

At its height 12 fire engines were called to the scene and residents and businesses nearby were advised to keep all windows and doors shut.

The fire service got the flames under control around 1.30pm but the roof of the building, which dates back to the 19th century, collapsed around noon.

Around 20 residents were evacuated as a precaution.

Fire service area manager Tony Crook said: "We've now got a building inspector assessing the structural integrity of the building, which is now believed to be unsafe.

"As a precaution we're working with the local authority to rehouse residents. Approximately 20 people will be rehoused overnight and will not be allowed back into their homes until it is safe.

"We did have reports that were possibly people sleeping in the building however they are unconfirmed.

"Our partners the police are currently interviewing witnesses to try to confirm that."