Arson probe after port fire

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A blaze that forced people out of their homes as fire crews battled to put out the flames was started deliberately, police today said.

An arson investigation is underway after around £10,000 of damage was caused when yobs broke into a vacant flat on Chatsworth Avenue, Fleetwood.

It caused residents in the adjacent flats to be evacuated.

Det Sgt Kathryn Riley, Blackpool CID

Two youths were last night in police custody, where they were being quizzed in connection with the blaze.

Police and firefighters were called to the scene at around 8pm on Monday.

Neighbouring flats had to be evacuated while an aerial ladder was used to tackle the blaze from above.

Detectives investigating the incident say it appears the offenders broke into an upstairs flat above the shops on Chatsworth Avenue, which was unoccupied at the time, before starting the fire.

Inquiries are ongoing to determine exactly how the blaze started but police are confident it was deliberate.

Nobody was hurt during the incident.

Det Sgt Kathryn Riley, of Blackpool CID, said: “The fire started above a row of shops in an unoccupied flat.

“It caused residents in the adjacent flats to be evacuated.

“We are awaiting fire 
reports in relation to how the fire started.”

Three fire engines were sent to the scene to contain the blaze, which left the buildings badly damaged.

A Lancashire Fire and Rescue spokesman said: “We were called to a fire in a top-floor flat above a shop in a three-storey building.

“Three fire engines and an aerial ladder platform were used.

“Firefighters equipped with breathing apparatus used two hosereel jets to put the fire out. There were no casualties.”

Two boys, aged 12 and 15, have been arrested on suspicion of arson.

Police are now appealing for witnesses to come forward and help with their investigations.

Det Sgt Riley added: “If anyone saw anybody hanging around between 7.30pm and 8.30pm, please get in touch.”

Anyone with information about the fire is asked to call Blackpool CID on 101, quoting log number 1378 of April 13.