A mum has spoken of her shock after her young family was left homeless by a ‘serious’ house fire in Accrington.
Crews from Hyndburn Fire Station were called to the scene of the blaze on Bold Street at around 2.55pm on Monday, March 13.
Nursery worker Rachel Smith, who lives at the house with her two sons aged four and six, was ‘shocked’ to return home and find it on fire.
She said: “I had been out in the afternoon and then went to pick up my son from school when I got a call to say my house was on fire.
“I’m just in shock. We’ve been told it’s ruined but we haven’t been able to go inside and see.
"We’ve been living there for just over a year. I don’t know what we are going to do.”
Bold Street and Washington Street were closed to traffic for several hours and four neighbouring properties were evacuated on Monday afternoon.
Neighbour Naomi Jones was evacuated along with her partner and three children.
She said: “My neighbour came banging on the door at about 3pm and I thought it was quite strange.
"They said to get out because there was a fire. My daughter was upstairs in her bedroom in her pyjamas.
“I didn’t realise the extent of the fire until I went across the road and saw the smoke billowing across the top. It was all panic from there.
“The smoke has come into one of the bedrooms and the attic.”
Garry Drinkwater, watch manager of Hyndburn Fire Station, told the Observer at the scene that they had evacuated two houses either side of the affected property, making five homes in total.
The neighbours were allowed back into their homes by 5pm, but WM Drinkwater added: “The lady whose fire the house is at won’t be able to go back in. It’s not inhabitable.”
Fire crews were alerted to the blaze by a workman at a neighbouring house who smelled smoke, but the fire is believed to have started that morning due to an electrical fault.
WM Drinkwater said: “It’s believed that the fire had been going for about three and a half hours before we got there.
“We are thinking at the moment it is electrical and we have our fire investigation team on site. When we arrived there was smoke issuing from the roof.
“We broke in through the front door and there was a severe fire between the ceiling and the floor at the top of the landing area.
“We have had the urban search and rescue team out and they have come in to shore up the ceiling because we can’t gain access to the bedrooms at the moment.”