A ‘SERIOUS’ fire that broke out in a town centre building had the potential to spread to other shops and offices, a firefighter who attended said.

Seven fire crews were called to a building in Barrow’s Duke Street yesterday.

They spent two hours tackling the blaze, which had spread through the unused building.

A joint investigation between the fire service and the police is due to examine how the fire started.

Station manager Roger Exley said fire crews from Barrow and Walney were joined by colleagues from Ulverston and Broughton due to the blaze’s potential to spread down the street.

Smoke was seen coming from the rear of the building, which houses the disused Antalya takeaway at the front. People in the neighbouring buildings and businesses were told to evacuate in case smoke spread, Mr Exley said.

“It was high risk,” he said. “It had the potential to be quite a serious fire.

“The building was heavily smokelogged but fortunately fire crews managed to extinguish it.

“We had to be prepared because it had the potential to spread to other buildings.”

The fire boss said a blaze had started in the ground floor and burnt upwards to the first floor.

Several pieces of furniture were said to have been on fire in the building.

Firefighters went in with breathing apparatus to extinguish the fire.

Crews checked to see if any smoke had spread to the Provincial Funding building next door but were able to give the all clear.

Mr Exley said he was urging people to stay away from the building.

He also urged owners of other town centre buildings to make sure the spaces are secure.

Police were called at around 2pm to help secure the road.

Officers placed a cordon from Duke Street by Cornwallis Street down to the Ramsden Square roundabout.

Police were left to help secure the building alongside its owner following the incident.

The building was deemed at ‘serious risk of collapse’ in 2016.