A MAN has been charged with arson after firefighters risked their lives embarking on a dangerous search and rescue mission at a blazing Burnley house.
Flames ripped through the mid-terraced home in Heap Street as firefighters scoured the premises looking for people while the fire spread dangerously close to a gas meter.
Imran Saddique (42), of no fixed address, faces a charge of arson with intent to endanger life.
Crews had been told by neighbours the occupants had not been accounted for when the fire broke out at 6-30 a.m. on Wednesday.
Nobody was found in the property but crews had to remain on the scene for eight hours to ward off danger of a potential gas explosion.
Homes in Heap Street were evacuated as fire spread to an adjacent house and a section of Briercliffe Road was also closed causing disruption to rush hour traffic.
Station manager Neil Mark said: “It was an extremely dangerous operation as the whole inside of the house, including the first floor, was falling apart. Because we were told there was somebody inside we had to search the house best we could to try to see if we could find them. The crews did a great job.
“Because the flames were so close to the gas meter we had to wait a while for the gas to be isolated otherwise there was a chance the whole block could have gone up.”