A BLAZE tore through an Accrington takeaway shop last night.

Families were evacuated from their homes and a road was closed after a major fire tore through an Accrington town centre takeaway last night.

Flames shot out from the roof of the Sahad takeaway, in Blackburn Road, and thick black smoke could be seen from as far away as Burnley.

It was the second time the mid-terraced property had been left devastated in just a matter of weeks, after the front part of the building collapsed into the street at the end of July.

Crews from across East Lancashire were called to tackle the blaze and even Miles Parkinson, leader of Hyndburn Council and a retained firefighter, went into the property to help.

Insp Graham Ashcroft said: "The call came in just before 7pm. One of the owners has discovered the fire which was in a flue canopy within the downstairs shop. There were three other people in the premises at the time and they evacuated.

"The fire took hold and has badly damaged the premises throughout. It spread to one of the houses next door."

Firefighters were still tackling the blaze at 8.30pm.

Insp Ashcroft added: "Fire investigators have already stared work but we believe it started accidentally."

The road was closed and remained shut last night.

Nearby shops had to close and put down their shutters to stop the smoke from coming in.

The road was closed off from Tanpits Road to Little Street by police and road diversions were also put in place.

Safina Akhtar, 29, whose family lives in the house next door to the takeaway, said she was about to go to the property to break the fast when she saw what had happened.

She said: “We are absolutely distraught.

“My mum went into the front room and said there was smoke and fire.

“We just had to evacuate the house, we have not managed to get anything.

“But we all got out, that is the main thing, we had children in there as well.

“I was due to go on holiday to Egypt tomorrow, but I cannot even think about that now.

“We have got to be brave, we have got our family around us and everybody has come together.”

Zoe Ayub, 19 who helps run Roop hair and beauty salon just a few doors down from the takeaway, said: “We have not been told anything.

“We were in when it started and my mum helped take the lady next door to safety.

“The whole family was struggling to get out.

“I don’t know if it has got to my shop, if it has it would be really bad.

“It is really worrying.”

The community gathered to offer their support for the families who had had to be evacuated and Coun Claire Pritchard, deputy leader of Hyndburn Council, visited the scene to offer accommodation to anyone who had been left homeless.

She said: “I have come down to show my support and check everybody who has been evacuated has been rehomed.

“The whole community has come out and they did this when the building collapsed a couple of weeks ago too.”

Coun Munsif Dad, who lives in the area said he saw the flames and smoke coming towards him as he left his house to go to the shop.

He said: “There was smoke was coming right toward me and the flames were in full flight, they were coming off the roof.

“The roof has come off.

“The first thing was getting everybody out, the firefighters have evacuated some of the houses.

“Because of the age of the houses, they are very, very vulnerable. Engineers will tell us the situation but obviously something needs to be done.”