SIX fire engines were called to tackle a fire at a derelict mill in Atherton.

Smoke was seen coming for the third floor of the six-storey mill in Gloucester Street at about 10pm last night.

Firefighters from Atherton and Hindley fire stations were sent to the scene and were joined shortly after by two crews from Bolton Central, one from Farnworth and one from Hyde.

The fire was caused by rubbish on the third floor and is thought to have been started deliberately.

Atherton crew manager Rob Macauley said: “The mill is right across the road from the fire station and as soon as we got the call and started to make our way there we could see black smoke coming from the window.

“We were struggling to gain access to the building through the gates and as we were trying to get in we heard over the radio that there could be someone inside.

“We saw flames coming from the window so due to the size of the building and the fact that someone could be trapped inside we immediately requested a further four fire engines to attend to make sure we had enough firefighters to stop the fire spreading and search the building.”

Firefighters spent about three hours on the scene searching the mill and nobody was found.

Mr Macauley added: “It turned out to be smaller than we first thought and we managed to stop it spreading to the other side of the mill.”