'AVOID THE AREA': Explosion reported as blaze guts Blackpool guest house

The building has been left a blackened shell
The building has been left a blackened shell

Residents were warned to avoid Palatine Road in central Blackpool after a major fire broke out there late last night.

Five fire engines and an aerial ladder platform were called to a three-storey guest house shortly after 11.30pm, as flames and smoke reached into the night sky, a spokesman for Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service said.

Writing on Twitter, Matt Ashby, from Blackpool, said homes on the street were evacuated as crews tackled the inferno.

He wrote: "Big explosion palatine road police currently evacuating all houses @The_Gazette my wife was literally walking past the house as it went up"

And @vickyfylde added: "Crazy fire on Palatine Road, appears to be an empty property. Road is currently closed and engines are in attendance."

Pictures taken at the scene show the fire was under control by 4am, though the white building has been left a blackened shell. The fire service asked people to continue to avoid the area.

The roof of the building appears to have collapsed

The roof of the building appears to have collapsed

It is not yet known whether anybody has been hurt.

More to follow

An aerial ladder platform was used to fight the fire from above

An aerial ladder platform was used to fight the fire from above

Five fire engines, as well as the aerial ladder platform, were called to the scene

Five fire engines, as well as the aerial ladder platform, were called to the scene