Man held in arson probe

A 21-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of arson after a major blaze broke out in a shopping arcade, police said today.

Fifteen fire engines and around 90 staff from Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service were being used to tackle the fire, which started on the ground floor of a commercial area opposite Blackpool's north pier and later spread to the roof.

Seven people, including a baby, were evacuated from the area.

A Lancashire Police spokeswoman said: "At 3.20am this morning police received a call from Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service reporting a large fire at the Yates's wine lodge pub and the adjoining arcade in Talbot Square in Blackpool."

She added: "A 21-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of arson and is currently in custody at Blackpool police station."

Police said three people were treated for smoke inhalation but there were no further casualties.

A number of road closures were in place around Talbot Square.

Three aerial ladder platforms were also used to tackle the blaze.

Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service spokeswoman Kathy Stacey said: "It's a very, very big fire for us in terms of its size and intensity. It's very rare that we would have a fire involving that number of pumps."

She added: "Thankfully nobody was in the buildings and we're not looking at a lot of casualties. Had this been a terrace of homes it would be a different story, but it's obviously very sad for those business owners and the people who own those properties."