Firefighters from St Annes were first to a fire in North Shore, arriving around 11 minutes after the first of several 999 calls, because of training at B&M.
They were called to Clifford Road after a fridge-freezer in a back yard of flats went up in flames shortly before 11am on Saturday.
A neighbour at the scene said: “The fire service took a while to get here. I called them four times.”
A spokesman for Lancashire Fire and Rescue blamed the response time – above a target of six to eight minutes – on ‘essential training’ being held at the discount shop.
“It resulted in a slight delay and St Annes were the first available crew to get there and get the fire under control,” he said yesterday.
The first 999 call was made at 10.58am, he said, with the Fylde engine arriving 11 minutes later. A further engine and crew from Blackpool arrived at 11.12am.
The fire, which created a thick plume of black smoke which could be seen for miles, had spread to a nearby rooftop, though nobody was hurt.
Police were called in to investigate the suspected arson. No arrests were made.