Inchcape has thanked emergency services workers involved in tackling a huge overnight fire at its Preston Jaguar Land Rover dealership which has forced the business to close.
An investigation is under way into the blaze in the car showroom, and meanwhile Inchcape is implementing plans for the JLR business to resume trading elsewhere.
A spokesperson for the AM100 car dealer group said: “We are very glad that all our colleagues and the wider community are safe, and no one was hurt in the fire that broke out at our Inchcape Jaguar Land Rover operation.”
At the peak of the incident, nine fire appliances and two aerial ladder platforms were on site tackling the fire, which was first reported at around 1am on Good Friday.
Firefighters were still on site into the early evening.
Images from the fire service show the fire engulfing the showroom at the front of the building.
John Rossen, area manager for Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service, thanked all the firefighters who arrived quickly and worked very hard in arduous conditions.
“They’ve actually managed to suppress the fire and stop it from spreading,” added Rossen.
Images show the rear roof of the building, above the workshop area, still relatively intact.
Inchcape said in a statement: ‘It is too early to speculate on exactly what happened, however we are working in conjunction with various experts to determine the cause.
“As we work through this the business will be closed temporarily and we will of course support our team and communicate with our customers throughout this period.”
The other nearest JLR dealerships to Preston are at Bolton and Nelson, and both are owned by AM100 rival Vertu Motors.
In the last decade Jaguar Land Rover dealers invested millions of pounds in the new ARCH style showrooms, often housing Jaguar and Land Rover side by side, but recent reports suggested the carmaker is reconsidering its future showroom needs as it aims to be selling new cars under agency agreements after 2024.
(Pictures from Lancashire Fire & Rescue Service)