News

Gallery: Arson investigation launched into huge scrapyard fire

Police believe a fire which has been burning for three days at Moorfield Industrial Estate was started deliberately

A scrapyard fire involving more than 400 cars is believed to have been started deliberately, police say.

A total of 90 firefighters and 16 fire engines were called to First Choice Car Spares, on the Moorfield Industrial Estate in Altham, after fire broke out at around 4.40am on Wednesday, December 7.

Crews battled all day to bring the flames under control, with residents being advised to keep their doors closed.

Lancashire Police now say they are treating the incident as ‘suspicious’.

A spokesperson said: “We can confirm that we believe the origin of the fire to be suspicious and are in the early stages of our investigation into the cause.”

Industrial estate fire in Altham expected to burn into Thursday

John Taylor, from Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service, said the fire service had been working with the police on the investigation.

He said: “With an arson fire it’s not appropriate to put the details of what’s been found out, but it is believed it has been started deliberately.”

By Thursday morning the fire - which was described by Incident Commander Simon Fryer as ‘significant’ - had been reduced to the last damping down procedures.

However, large earth-moving vehicles had to be drafted onto the site to pull apart the pile of car wrecks to allow firefighters to extinguish the smouldering remains underneath.

Mr Taylor added: “On Wednesday the number of fire engines and crews has dramatically reduced to one overnight to monitor whether anything was erupting during the night.

Warning as 15 cars targeted by thieves across Hyndburn

“Most of the industrial estate was open for business on Thursday, they don’t require the same volume of water so the businesses were able to re-enter and there is no longer a road block on the site.”

Emergency services dealing with the fire at a scrapyard in Altham. Photo: Lancashire Fire Service

It is believed the fire will be totally extinguished by the end of today.

First Choice Car Spares has declined to comment.

On Wednesday, Lancashire County Council and Blackburn with Darwen councils had to step in to take on school run bus contracts, as Rigby’s Coaches drivers, based on the industrial estate, could not get on site.

The M65 was also closed for a short period between junctions 7 and 8, and motorway police also had to deal with a Road Traffic Collision next to the fire on the eastbound carriageway.

Anyone with information that could assist with the fire investigation is asked to call Lancashire Police on 101 quoting incident reference LC-20161207-0109.

View full mobile page