Police are hunting for an arsonist they believe may have started a spate of fires.
The arsonist struck at around 2am today at a shop in Lovely Lane, Warrington.
Police and the fire service attended and two people were rescued from a flat above the shop by firefighters.
The two people were taken to hospital for a check-up, but are not believed to be seriously injured.
The blaze was put out but has left extensive fire damage to the shop and smoke damage to the flat.
Lovely Lane was closed by police while the fire was dealt with.
A second fire was started at 2.20am at Regency Court, Warrington, when a wheelie bin was set alight and put against a house, causing the property to catch fire.
A gas pipe in the property ignited and as a precautionary measure a small number of houses on either side had to be evacuated.
The fire was extinguished, but police, fire, and gas officials remained at the scene.
Shortly after this blaze, two further small fires were reported in the area - one on Harrington Avenue and a further bin fire in Lovely Lane.
Police said there have been no serious injuries as a result of the incidents, and no reported casualties other than the two people rescued in Lovely Lane.
A spokesman for Cheshire Police said: "At this stage police and fire are liaising to determine the causes of the fires, which are being viewed as suspicious.
"Police are also looking at the possibility that the fires have been started by the same person or persons.
"Police would like to reassure the community that all the incidents reported were swiftly dealt with and are now under control."
Police are appealing to the community to come forward with any information they have which could assist the investigation, or to anyone out and about in the Bewsey area of Warrington last night who may have seen anything to make contact with Warrington CID on 0845 458 0000, quoting incident number 77 of 17/08/2011.
Alternatively, information can be left anonymously on the Crimestoppers hotline 0800 555 111.