Crews from Lancashire Fire & Rescue Service have been called to a city centre fire this evening (May 13).
Witness reports sent to LancsLive at 8.30pm showed smoke rising from above the city visible from a significant amount of distance away. At 9.20pm, there was a large fire service presence in the city centre with areas of Fishergate, Mount Street and Theatre Street cordoned off.
It is not yet clear which building has been affected by the fire but two separate witness statements indicated they believed the former St Joseph’s Orphanage and Mount Street Hospital, on Mount Street, had been affected. Lancashire Constabulary are also in attendance.
LancsLive has contacted Lancashire & Fire & Rescue Service for a statement.
Fire crews to remain on the scene ‘throughout the night’
Incident commander Tom Cookson has given an update on the fire at Mount Street in Preston.
There are eight fire engines in attendance and two aerial ladder platforms, with the incident now being scaled down.
The crews now have the fire under control and will remain at the scene throughout the night to dampen down hotspots.
A new statement from the fire service
Lancashire Fire & Rescue Service has issued a new statement to LancsLive:
We have eight fire engines and two aerial ladder platforms at a derelict building on Mount Street, Preston.
Firefighters were called to the incident at approximately at 19:48. Firefighters are working to extinguish the fire and make the building safe.
Fishergate is closed to vehicles between the junctions of Chapel Street and the Fishergate Centre. Firefighters expect to be at the scene for most of the evening. No injuries have been reported.
From the scene
Notes from the scene from LancsLive reporter Fatima Aziz:
There was a huge amount of police and fire service crews with around five to six fire engines that I was able to see. You could see the smoke slightly from the high street coming from a side street off of Mount Street.
Smoke can be smelt from as far back the prison and then is really strong the closer you get to Mount Street. From the cordon you could see an aeriel ladder with crews dosing the fire which looked like it could be coming from the old St Joseph’s Orphanage.
The smoke appeared to be heavily blowing out of the derelict buildings there. Traffic was being diverted away from the top end of the high street near Fishergate shopping centre but there is still access on foot for now up to the cordons on Mount Street itself.
Images from the scene this evening
Images show fire service surrounding the building in question, which numerous reports indicate is St Joseph’s Orphanage on Mount Street.
When that is confirmed, it will be noted that there are plans to demolish the building for new homes – but do so sensitively due to the historical significance of the building and the possibility it may house unmarked graves.
Fire service statement
A spokesperson for Lancashire Fire & Rescue Service said: “We have 8 fire engines and two aerial ladder platforms at a fire in a derelict building on Mount Street, Preston. Fishergate is closed at the of Chapel Street down to the Fishergate Centre.”
What we know so far
A summary of the information available:
Emergency services are in attendance in Preston city centre.
Theatre Street, Mount Street and Fishergate areas cordoned off with a significant emergency services response
Witness reports suggested Mount Street Hospital/St Joseph’s orphanage affected and images from the scene support this – but unconfirmed at present.