Derelict garage blaze alarms neighbours

THE cause of a fire which devastated a building in St Annes is today under investigation.

Fire chiefs have revealed children were seen playing around the disused Fairways Garage on Heeley Road prior to a blaze which broke out on Sunday.

Neighbours claim there were also fires at the garage on Monday and last night.

A shocked local resident caught Sunday's drama on video camera.

Sian Clynes shot the footage which shows flames ripping through an upper roof of the building.

Heavy smoke poured from the site as firefighters arrived on scene to tackle the blaze.

Mrs Clynes, said she released the footage after becoming concerned the site had become dangerous because it was insecure and structurally damaged.

"This is not a safe building," she said. Whoever owns it should get on with doing something about it, like knocking it down. This fire may be the start of many."

According to fire chiefs the building had been subjected to a spate of vandalism in recent months.

A spokesman for St Annes fire station, said: "There are no immediate signs this fire was started deliberately, but we do know that children have been hanging around the area in recent weeks.

"The fire itself was very severe and started in the roof space of the garage before spreading through the entire building, the office space and living accommodation, none of which is occupied.

"The building was heavily smoke-logged when we arrived.

"Had we been any later I fear the whole property could have collapsed around us.

"Fairways Garage has been subject to a great deal of vandalism over the past few months and some parts of the building are very dangerous indeed.

"From what we saw at the time we don't think it was an arson attack as there was nothing deliberate to be seen."

Carol Lanyon, of St Leonard's Road East, said there had been three fires in three days at the site.

"This is endangering the fire service as well as putting everyone else in the community at risk. It could prevent the fire service from going on an emergency call because they are dealing with this."

Solicitors for Town Manor Developments, which owns the Fairways site, were unavailable for comment.