Two workers were today hailed heroes after they attempted to rescue two people trapped in a blazing house.
The have-a-go pair dashed from a kitchen design firm opposite the fire in Maitland Street, Preston and broke down a door as flames and smoke engulfed the front of the terraced property.
"They kicked in the lobby door to try and reach the back of the house," said a neighbour.
"It was very brave of them because flames were coming out of the front door and windows and the smoke was very thick.
"Fortunately the fire brigade arrived and rescued the people from upstairs."
The blaze broke out just after 6pm last night. Police say they are treating the fire as "suspicious" after it was revealed it started in the porch area of the house.
The alarm was raised by a young girl who was passing at the time and called 999.
"Then these two young men from the kitchen place over the road came running across," said the next-door neighbour who asked not to be named.
"There was no way they could get in through the front, so they smashed down the lobby door and went down the passage to the back of the house. But I gather they couldn't get in."
The neighbour, who lives with her 61-year-old disabled husband, revealed it was the second blaze drama to affect her home in three years.
"The house on the other side of us was badly damaged by a fire upstairs and no-one has lived there since," she said.
"I was worried this time that the fire would spread to our property. My husband is disabled and it would have taken quite a while to get him out of the house."
The fire-damaged house was boarded up today. The couple, who were rescued by firefighters wearing breathing apparatus, were treated for smoke inhalation at the scene by paramedics, but are not thought to have been seriously hurt.
Later a police spokesperson said: "We were called at around 6.05pm last night to reports of arson at an address on Maitland Street, Preston.
"We attended with the fire service and found a small fire in the porch area of the property.
"Two people were in the property at the time and were evacuated by the fire service. Nobody is thought to have been injured.
"The incident is being treated as suspicious and our enquiries are ongoing."