A fire which ripped through an “eyesore” property was the second suspicious blaze in the building in less than a year.
Flames took hold of the former Pitstop shop on Bloomfield Road, South Shore, in the early hours of yesterday morning, gutting the ground floor and destroying what was left of the first floor as flames leapt from the property.
Hazardous materials in the former car parts shop, including aerosols and paints, caused a number of explosions on what was the shop floor.
The building was already partly destroyed after a huge fire engulfed it on October 10 last year, destroying the roof and causing residents in the first floor flat to flee to safety as six fire engines battled the blaze.
Crews were called to yesterday’s incident at around 5.30am and spent around one hour dousing the flames, which investigating officers said had been going for around 30 minutes. Both the Pitstop property and adjoining house were empty and no-one was injured in the incident.
Watch manger Ali Park, from Forest Gate fire station, said: “There was a severe fire in the building, it was well alight.
“The flames were coming out of the roof and had gone into the roof of the house next door.
“Inside the property there was a lot of aerosols and paints so there were a lot of explosions.”
Investigators from Lancashire Fire and Rescue and Lancashire Police are treating the fire as suspicious.
Police are now carrying out door-to-door inquiries and reviewing CCTV footage from the area in a bid to find those responsible.
No arrests have yet been made over the fire last October.
A spokesman for Lancashire Police said: “We were called by the fire service shortly before 6am to reports a derelict building was on fire on Bloomfield Road. At this stage it is being treated as suspicious and inquiries are on-going to establish exactly what has happened.”
Crews broke into the neighbouring terraced property, fearing residents could be inside, but found it empty.
The house next door to that was evacuated, with parents and their five children forced to take shelter in their car after their home filled with smoke.
But mum Pam Withers, 42, told how she didn’t notice anything untoward on the road when she left for work at around 5am.
She said: “I got a call at about 6am telling me about the fire. My family thought it was next door’s house because they could see the flames coming out the back.
“It was scary. I was shaking and panicking and hoping everyone was alright. I’m just relieved everyone is safe now.”
Following last year’s blaze, firefighters later had to pull down first floor walls of the building in December.
Severe 80mph winds battered Blackpool, threatening to blow down the gutted building which neighbours have said is an “eyesore” and one which “should have been pulled down months ago”.
Now neighbours are renewing their calls for the building, in a residential area opposite Lidl supermarket, to be made safe and pulled down.