A FIRE which ripped through a takeaway causing homes to be evacuated is being treated as suspicious.
A community leader today told how he raised the alarm to ensure residents were out of their flats above The Snapper fish and chip shop on Poulton Street, Kirkham.
Kirkham town councillor Keith Beckett was walking along Poulton Street shortly after midnight yesterday when he saw smoke pouring from the shopfront.
The councillor said vents which the smoke was coming through were melting from the heat.
He said: “I could smell burning and we could hear it crackle and banging inside.”
While Coun Beckett alerted another nearby takeaway, asking them to call 999, the fire had erupted inside the shop, with fire crews arriving at the scene at around 12.40am.
He added: “I walked back round and it was all lit up inside.
“It was quite scary.”
The councillor said he alerted authorities to residents living in flats above the row of shops.
Officers from Lancashire Fire and Rescue and Lancashire Police are now investigating the fire.
Richard Edney, from the fire service, said: “At the moment it is believed to be suspicious.
“We will be investigating to work out what went on before the fire started.”
Four firefighters entered the flat above the takeaway, which the flames had also reached but found no-one inside, while others tackled the blaze, bringing it under control by around 3.30am.
Residents in flats next door were also evacuated.
Coun Beckett added: “I think people were worried the place was going to explode because it was fat burning. At one point you couldn’t see up Poulton Street because the smoke was so black.”
Fire and police crews were yesterday working at the scene to determine the cause of the fire.