AN investigation has been launched after a suspected arson attack at a coronavirus testing centre.

Emergency services were called to the COVID-19 test centre off Centenary Way in Burnley at around 9.20pm on Tuesday night following reports of a fire.

Upon arrival, crews discovered a fire involving one of the testing tents.

One hose reel was used to extinguish the fire and a joint investigation has been launched into the circumstances surrounding the fire.

Ward Councillor for Daneshouse with Stoneyholme and the Mayor of Burnley Wajid Khan said an incident such as this was an ‘attack on the people of the town’.

He said: “This is horrendous to hear about. We are in a time of national crisis. People need to get tested and people are struggling to get those tests. We are doing all we can to ensure they have that access. Attacking the testing centre is an attack on the people of Burnley and our fight against coronavirus.

“This was a stupid, selfish and cowardly act. Whoever is responsible for this needs to be found and needs to feel the full weight of the law. It is simply immoral.”

The community ran testing station opposite Burnley bus station announced it would be amending its opening hours following a decision made by Lancashire County Council and Lancashire Resilience Forum on Wednesday.

The Centenary Way station will now be closed on Thursdays and Fridays with immediate effect, but will remain open 10am to 3pm from Saturday to Wednesday every week.

A Burnley Council spokesman said: "The Burnley testing station is in high demand from local residents.

"It has dealt with, on average, 300 tests a day since it opened on 10th August (the highest number of any community testing facility in Lancashire). But as reported in the media, the national testing system is stretched.

"We are grateful to the county council and the Lancashire Resilience Forum that, while the hours of operation are reducing, the station will remain open for the foreseeable future."

It is not believed that the suspected arson attack is linked to the centre’s reduced hours going forward.

A fire service spokesman said: “Last night, Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service was called to a fire involving a tent at the COVID test site on Centenary Way, Burnley at 21:19. One fire engine from Burnley attended the scene and the firefighters used one hose reel to extinguish the fire. There was minimal damage to the tent and firefighters were at the scene for 20 minutes and a joint police and fire investigation is underway.”

A police spokesman added: “This has been reported to us and a joint investigation is underway with Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service. Anyone with information should contact us on 101 quoting log 1499 of September 15th.”