'Smoke was billowing from the front and people were running frantically' - Bispham takeaway goes up in flames
Residents living above an Italian takeaway in Bispham fled for their lives after a fire ripped through the eatery this morning.
The highly-rated Italian Star in Red Bank Road was left devastated, with pictures taken at the scene showing the extent of the damage.
Several people living in flats above managed to escape safely, a spokesman for the Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service said, though crews were initially told somebody may be trapped.
Firefighters in two fire engines from Blackpool and one each from Bispham and South Shore were called out by a passer-by at 8.03am, and used four water jets to tackle the blaze after first putting on oxygen masks in case they needed to carry out a rescue.
There were no injuries.
The fire was understood to have started inside the takeaway, with flames seen lapping up the front of the building, though an investigation into the exact cause was underway.
It was not immediately clear whether the flames spread to the flats, though they would almost certainly have been damaged by smoke, one official said.
A black Hyundai i20 parked immediately outside Italian Star was also badly damaged.
One witness said she saw 'flames billowing from the front of the building, [and] people running frantically from it', with 'black smoke filling the sky'.
Red Bank Road was blocked in both directions as emergency services arrived.
Wendy Collins, 42, of Warbreck Drive, said: "I was getting up and I heard someone yelling outside. I looked out my window and there were these big clouds of smoke coming from the takeaway.
"There was a couple of people running around like mad."
And Jarek Wisniewski, 27, of Bispham, said: "I couldn't believe how thick the smoke was. It was really intense with the heat."
Carl Woods, 32, also of Bispham, added: "I was going to the shops and could see the smoke from a distance and the air smelt of burnt plastic.
"I think they tried to move the car to safety but it was too late, the flames had already got it."
A man wearing an Italian Star shirt was at the scene, speaking into a mobile phone and with several other people, and removing items from the burnt car. He did not comment.
The hair salon next door, The Curl Company, was open as normal today, a worker said.
Italian Star had 5.5 stars out of six on food ordering website JustEat - with a banner saying the restaurant was under 'new ownership'.