FIREFIGHTERS have hit out at vandals who are putting ‘lives at risk’ after the fourth serious fire at a derelict church in Shawforth.

Crews from Bacup and Rawtenstall were called to the incident on Market Street just after midnight on Saturday.

Crew manager Dave Loney said: “This is the fourth serious fire in four weeks at the same site. Fire crews have spent more than 20 hours at serious deliberate fires at this building. 

“The conditions within the building are extremely dangerous with unstable floors and missing stair treads. 

“Structural damage to the roof has caused perilous conditions for firefighters entering wearing full protective equipment.

“Setting deliberate fires ties up valuable resources and, should a life-threatening incident take place at the same time, further appliances from outlying areas will have to attend extending the time an engine can get to an incident, deliberate fires like these puts lives at risk.”