DRINKERS at Clayton-le-Moors Conservative Club had to be evacuated as flames roared through the building in a suspected arson attack.
Fire crews from Hyndburn were called to the Whalley Road club at around 10.45pm on Saturday after stewardess Hazel Street smelled smoke.
Around 110 members and guests were hurried out of the building as the fire, which had broken out in the first-floor kitchen, took hold.
Club secretary Alan Hopkins said: "It was just a normal Saturday night downstairs with an artiste on.
"Then we started smelling smoke so the stewardess went out into the back and saw orange flames coming out of the roof.
"I shot upstairs and it was quite heavy with smoke in the passageway. I could see the fire, which was well alight by then.
"Upstairs isn’t often used so there’s no reason for anything to have gone wrong. The whole kitchen has been gutted.
"There is a strong possibility that it was arson because the padlock on the door upstairs had been broken.
"We aren’t a huge club but we were quite busy at the time. Everyone stayed calm and left the club very quickly.
"We have now got major fire and water damage and our main priority will be to get the downstairs bar back up and running."
Firefighters were at the scene until around 2am and returned on Sunday morning to ensure the fire was fully extinguished.
Since then, industrial cleaners have been in to clean the club and assessors have been in to inspect the damage.
The downstairs bar is due to re-open at 7pm today (Friday) as normal.