UPDATED: Streets evacuated as 70 firefighters tackle blaze in Keighley (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Streets evacuated after blaze at derelict club in Keighley
Around 70 firefighters from across the district tackled an inferno in the Lawkholme area of Keighley this morning.
They battled for several hours to stop the blaze, in a three-storey building, spreading to adjacent houses.
A shop unit, snooker hall and disused industrial area are all within the fire-hit premises, which have been severely damaged.
Incident commander Andy Newman said firefighters have been unable to enter the building due to its dangerous state.
Structural engineers are in attendance.
Police evacuated residents from houses close to the scene of the blaze, in Grange Street, as a precaution and the nearby Asda supermarket opened up its canteen facilities.
That was then increased to six appliances from across the district, plus an aerial ladder.
“When the first crews arrived the building was well alight,” said Mr Newman.
“It took about three hours to bring the fire under control and we managed to prevent it spreading into the snooker hall, although there is smoke and water damage to that area.
“The rest of the building collapsed very quickly.
“We also positioned water jets to stop the fire affecting the neighbouring houses.”
He said fire investigators were at the scene, but until it was safe to enter the building an investigation into the cause couldn’t begin.
He added that firefighters are likely to be there for much of the day damping down.
A large area of Lawkholme was sealed off to traffic, but parts of the cordon have now been lifted.
The blaze comes just hours before members of the Fire Brigades Union are due to stage their latest strike in a row over pensions.
Police say around 30 homes were evacuated including homes in Wren Street, Nightingale Street, Linnet Street and Emily Street.
People living in Wren Street were allowed back into their homes shortly after 7am.
Police have put several road closures in place including Lawkholme Lane, which is shut in both directions. Lawkholme Lane is closed both ways between Bradford Street and the A650 Hard Ings Road.
Other closures include Parson Street both ways between the A6035 Bradford Road and Lawkholme Lane; Bradford Street both ways between the A6035 Bradford Road and Lawkholme Lane; and Emily Street both ways between the A6035 Bradford Road and Lawkholme Lane.
Bradford Council was to open Keighley Leisure Centre for people to go to, under its emergency planning procedures, but a spokesman for West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service said that operation was thought to have been stood down when a nearby mosque and Asda cafe were opened.
No injuries have been reported and a fire investigator will be asked to probe the cause.
Gas and electricity companies have also been informed.