A MAN has been arrested following a major fire which ripped through an art gallery last night. 

Emergency services were called to the Storm Art Gallery on Burnley Road in Padiham at around 6pm on Thursday after the blaze took hold. 

Police have now confirmed that a 52-year-old man from Burnley has been arrested at a nearby address on suspicion of criminal damage and arson. 

Fire engines and several police cars were still at the scene on Burnley Road in Padiham at midnight, as crews battled to extinguish the blaze.

Nobody was inside the building at the time, though police evacuated nearby businesses and homes. 

Lancaster And Morecambe Citizen:

James Dootle, who was in the area before the emergency services arrived, said he had never seen anything like it in his life.

He said: "I was on my way home from work when I saw the fire. I pulled over and got out of my car, this was before the fire brigade arrived. I've never seen flames like that before.

"It's truly scary but emergency services seem to have it all under control now, and I've heard nobody was inside so that's the main thing."

James Livesey, of Dream Renovations, was also driving along the road when he saw the fire. He stopped his van and got out to take a video of the devastation. 

He said: "The fire just kept getting bigger and bigger."

Firefighters were seen using an angle grinder to cut down a bollard near the back of the shop. They are now using a stinger to access the fire from above. 

Lancaster And Morecambe Citizen:

A spokesman for the fire service said: “At around 6pm, four fire engines from Burnley, Hyndburn and Nelson were called to a fire involving a row of terraced shops. 

“Crews used two hose reel jets and later requested the aerial ladder platform, two breathing apparatus and Stinger appliance to be present.

“The fire is thought to be of suspicious origin and an investigation is underway.

There were no casualties reported.” 

A police spokesman confirmed: "We were called at around 6.10pm yesterday  to reports of a fire at the Storm art shop on Burnley Road in Padiham.

"We attended with the fire service and found the building alight. Nobody was inside the building when we arrived.

"The fire is now being treated as suspicious and a joint investigation has been launched with Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service.

"Anybody with information is asked to contact us on 101, quoting log number 1129 of February 7th.

"A 52-year-old man from Burnley was arrested at a nearby address on suspicion of criminal damage – arson not endangering life, and he remains in police custody."

Video credit: Daniel Livesey from the dream renovations.