THOUSANDS of pairs of slippers were destroyed when fire broke out at a large Stacksteads mill early today.

The top floor of Bacup Shoe's four-storey Atherton Holme Mill was filled with smoke when firefighters arrived at 1.23am.

The fire activated the sprinkler system which soaked the three storeys underneath at the Baldwin Street premises.

Two Bacup fire crews were joined by two from Rawtenstall.

Sub-officer Nick Clough from Rawtenstall, said: "The top floor was used for storage and thousands of pairs of slippers in cardboard boxes were destroyed.

"The sprinkler system soaked the other floors and we tried to save as many of the slippers as possible moving them off the floor where the water was gathering.

"The water brought down many of the ceilings and we used a ventilation system to get rid of the smoke and a pump to remove the water which had built up on the lower floors."

Firefighters, who attended until 5am believe the fire may have been smouldering.

The cause is being investigated.

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