Decision over Alston Hall fire investigation

Alston Hall was partially destroyed in a fire in March
Alston Hall was partially destroyed in a fire in March

Lancashire Fire chiefs are set to meet today for a decision on whether the historic mansion Alston Hall was deliberately destroyed in a blaze in March.

The Grade II Listed building, which was partway through a renovation project, was partially devastated after the huge blaze ripped through the upper floors the night of March 15.

The meeting between fire investigators has been scheduled to determine the outcome of a lengthy probe into the cause of the fire.

Investigators said at the time it would take weeks to identify, due to the damage and the home being at risk of collapse.

More than 70 firefighters tackled the blaze, which broke out at the three-storey mansion. Crews in 10 fire engines fought the fire using water from a nearby pond.

Alston Hall was built between 1874 and 1876 for colliery owner John Mercer.

It remained a family home until 1949 when the hall was sold to Preston Borough Council. In 1974 it was bought by Lancashire County Council, which sold it last year.

This week Lancashire Fire Service issued a warning about heritage buildings under threat after a “worrying” rise of fires in a number of historic buildings.

Several buildings around the county are on the At Risk Register, including a wing of former Barton Old Hall in Barton