THE downstairs of a house was wrecked after arsonists broke in and started a fire.

Firefighters were called to the empty terrace property in Dall Street, Burnley Wood, Burnley, at around 2.30pm yesterday.

They found the ground floor well alight and neighbours from either side of the house were standing outside.

Crew manager Glenn Barrett, from Burnley fire station, said arsonists had broken in through the back window and started a fire under the stairs.

Neighbours said builders had recently been working on the property and it was not thought to be long-term vacant.

The ground floor of the house was wrecked by the blaze and the upstairs was left smoke-logged. The neighbouring homes were also slightly damaged by the smoke.

Police were at the scene and an investigation has been launched to track down the arsonists.

Anyone with information should contact Burnley police on 01282 425001 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.