DOZENS of residents were evacuated for the night after a serious fire at an industrial unit containing hazardous chemicals.

Those living close to the incident on Dark Lane, Mawdesley were told to leave their homes during the blaze at a building used as a garage and workshop.

The single storey unit contained highly volatile and flammable acetylene cylinders. The fire was reported at around 3.30pm on Thursday.

Four pumps were called out as the unit was well alight. Fire crews stayed in attendance throughout the night, cooling down the metal cylinders Shaun Walton, station manager at Preston fire station, said: “We managed to physically inspect the cylinders in Friday morning and made them safe.

“We have identified that the acetylene cylinder ruptured.

“We used ground monitors to apply water to cool the cylinders without putting our fire crews at risk.”

The 29 people displaced by the incident were put up for the night at a nearby hotel after Chorley Council implemented its emergency plan.

Councillor Alistair Bradley, Chorley Council leader, said: “Our officers were called out as part of Operation Merlin to help look after residents who were evacuated from their homes as a precaution.

“They were there late into the night to ensure all residents, including those returning home from work knew what was happening and where to go.

“It soon became clear the residents would be unable to return to their homes that night whilst the fire service cooled the cylinders, so we organised accommodation for them.

“A total of 29 residents and a dog were found overnight accommodation and they were informed they could return to their homes early this morning.

“I would like to praise in particular the responding agencies, and our council staff for their help during the emergency, and to thank those people affected for their patience.”