Lancaster quay blaze drama

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SMOKE billowing from an old Victorian mill could be seen across Lancaster after an arson attack on Friday evening.

Around 60 firefighters attended the scene at the height of the blaze at the disused St George’s Works mill on St George’s Quay at just after 7pm on May 11.

Fire on St George's Quay, May 11, Ingrid Kent.

Fire on St George's Quay, May 11, Ingrid Kent.

Crews found the third and fourth floors well alight when they arrived and were damping down pockets of fire until well into Saturday.

Water from the River Lune was initially pumped onto the fire before a change in the tide. Lancashire Police said whoever started the fire entered through an unlocked door. It is not yet known how the fire was started.

The mill has been empty for several years and plans are in place to partly demolish it as part of Lancaster City Council’s £4 million Luneside East regeneration project, creating a “gateway” to a proposed development of 327 apartments and homes, 8,000 square metres of office space, shops, a cafe and a park.

Guy Illingworth from developers Luneside East Limited told The Visitor the building was not in danger of collapse but it was too early to tell the full extent of the damage.

Fire on St George's Quay, May 11, Ingrid Kent.

Fire on St George's Quay, May 11, Ingrid Kent.

He said: “We’ve only had limited assess to the building but at the moment the damage doesn’t look as bad as we thought it would be when we saw the flames.

“We need to assess the safety of the building before the team can go in and do a survery and we hope to be able to do that later in the week.

“We couldn’t believe it. We got the call about 7pm and we’re not locally based but we have a contractor who is, so when we heard what was happening we jumped in the car and came up for most of Friday evening and Saturday.

“In fairness the fire service did a fantastic job containing the flames like they did.”

Fire on St George's Quay, May 11, Ingrid Kent.

Fire on St George's Quay, May 11, Ingrid Kent.

The council’s district emergency incident officer and building control officer is working with the developer to ensure the building remains safe.

Roads on the quay were closed to traffic into the weekend. Anyone with any information on the fire should contact police on 101.

Fire on St George's Quay, May 11, Ingrid Kent.

Fire on St George's Quay, May 11, Ingrid Kent.

Fire on St George's Quay, May 11, Ingrid Kent.

Fire on St George's Quay, May 11, Ingrid Kent.

Fire on St George's Quay, May 11, Ingrid Kent.

Fire on St George's Quay, May 11, Ingrid Kent.

Fire on St George's Quay, May 11, Ingrid Kent.

Fire on St George's Quay, May 11, Ingrid Kent.

Fire on St George's Quay, May 11, Ingrid Kent.

Fire on St George's Quay, May 11, Ingrid Kent.