Fire sweeps through quay warehouse

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FIREFIGHTERS believe a blaze at a five-storey disused warehouse on St George’s Quay was started deliberately.

Nine fire engines and crews, totalling around 60 firefighters, were needed to tackle the blaze on May 11.

Fire on St George's Quay, May 11, Ingrid Kent.

Fire on St George's Quay, May 11, Ingrid Kent.

Clouds of smoke were visible across Lancaster with the third and fourth floors of the building well alight when the first crews arrived on the scene shortly after 7pm.

Water from the River Lune was initially pumped onto the fire before a change in the tide meant street hydrants were used.

Lancashire Police said whoever started the fire entered through an unlocked door. It is not yet known how the fire was started.

The mill has been empty for several years and plans are in place to partly demolish it as part of Lancaster City Council’s £4m Luneside East regeneration project, creating a “gateway” to a proposed development of 327 apartments and homes, 8,000 square metres of office space, shops, a cafe and a park.

Guy Illingworth from developers Luneside East Limited said the building was not in danger of collapse but it was too early to tell the full extent of the damage.

He said: “We’ve only had limited access to the building but at the moment the damage doesn’t look as bad as we thought it would be when we saw the flames.

“We need to assess the safety of the building before the team can go in and do a survey and we hope to be able to do that later in the week.

“We couldn’t believe it. We got the call about 7pm and we’re not locally based but we have a contractor who is, so when we heard what was happening we jumped in the car and came up for most of Friday evening and Saturday.

“The fire service did a fantastic job containing the flames like they did.”

The council’s district emergency incident officer and building control officer is working with the developer to ensure the building remains safe.

Crews were damping down pockets of fire until well into Saturday.

Roads in the area were closed while fire crews were on the scene and the quay remained closed to traffic into the weekend.

Anyone with any information on the fire should contact police on 101.