Arson probe over flats fire

The New Bank flats on Albert Road in Blackpool, scene of a fire over the weekend.
The New Bank flats on Albert Road in Blackpool, scene of a fire over the weekend.
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AN arson probe has been launched after firefighters rescued three people from a fire in a block of flats.

The casualties needed hospital treatment after being evacuated from the blazing building on Albert Road at around 11.30pm on Saturday.

Crews from Blackpool tackled the blaze which broke out in a ground floor flat at the former New Bank Holiday Flats.

Officers used breathing apparatus, a hose reel and thermal imaging equipment to tackle the fire and remained at the scene until the early hours of the following morning.

Crime scene investigators remained at the scene yesterday and detectives were questioning two people on suspicion of arson.

Michael Butterworth, owner of The Stafford Hotel, adjacent to the building, said it was the fourth fire at the flats in six months.

He added: “I saw a lot of smoke coming from the building and firefighters evacuating people from the building.

“The inhabitants were put in an ambulance and there was a lot of activity on the street, the road was closed off for a few hours.

“The problem is it is the fourth fire in six months and for a holiday area that is not good.

“It doesn’t paint a very good impression.”

Mr Butterworth said he had competitors taking part in the Blackpool Dance Festival staying in his hotel at the time.

He added: “They all came out to see what was happening, they were taking pictures of the fire.

“It’s a bit embarrassing though in front of guests.”

Staff at The Feathers Hotel, also next door, said they saw the fire brigade arrive and there was a lot of police activity.

Firefighters at the scene said the blaze was beginning to take hold when they arrived and officers had to go into the premises and ensure some of the occupants were able to get free and were not trapped by the flames.

The three casualties were taken by ambulance to Blackpool Victoria Hospital for further treatment.

Officers told The Gazette the flat was severely damaged by smoke and a bed destroyed by the flames.

Anyone with information about the blaze can contact Blackpool Police on (01253) 293933 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.