Teenagers arrested after huge blaze at former bank building

Teenagers arrested after huge blaze at former bank building

by Tom Martin (September 2020)

THREE teenagers  have  been arrested after a huge blaze destroyed a former bank building in Skelmersdale.

The fire erupted at the old Co-op premises on Westgate at around 7.45pm on Tuesday, September 15 and Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service believe it was arson.

Lancashire Police have arrested two boys and a girl, aged 13  and 14,  on suspicion of criminal damage - arson not endangering life.

It is believed that a group of youngsters were inside  the empty building and started the fire before fleeing the scene on foot.

A total of eight fire engines were called out to the scene to tackle the flames and nearby residents and businesses were told to close their windows as a safety precaution against the smoke.

Local residents were not only concerned about the smoke, but also asbestos. Peter Sweeney, who described the fire as “crazy”, said: “It wasn't just the danger of the fire, it was the asbestos in the air you had to worry about. You can see the flames you can't  see asbestos.”

It took around four hours to extinguish the flames and firefighters were still there the following day to get rid of “small pockets of fire.”

The building has been derelict for several years but there are plans to demolish it and build an Aldi supermarket on the land.

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