Fire at historic former Burnley theatre

The interior of the Empire Theatre
The interior of the Empire Theatre
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A blaze broke out in a historic former Burnley theatre in the early hours of the morning.

Firefighters were called to the former Empire Theatre in Cow Lane at around 2-50am this morning to reports of a fire.

Four fire engines and an aerial ladder platform from Burnley, Nelson, Padiham and Hyndburn attended the scene. Firefighters equipped with breathing apparatus used one hose reel to extinguish the fire.

The iconic, but now semi-derelict building has been the subject of a campaign in recent years to restore the theatre to its former glory.

In June, Burnley Borough Council approved plans to create a cafe bar in the entrance foyer to the theatre, dealing a blow to campaigners.

However, in August the National Trust lent its support to the theatre, describing it as 'a hidden gem'.

The Empire remains on the 'Theatres at Risk' register.