Three children are in a critical condition after they were rescued from a burning building where police believe a fire was started deliberately.
Fire crews raced to the blaze on the first floor of the building that had been The Woodman pub in Greater Manchester at around 8.30pm last night.
Three children, whose ages have not been released, were rescued from the building by firefighters.
Detective Inspector from Greater Manchester Police Chris Aunins said: “We have launched an investigation in conjunction with Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service into how the fire started.
“We believe that it may have been started deliberately and so we are appealing for anyone with information or anyone who may have dashcam footage to get in touch with police to help with our inquiries.
“Now we are in the school summer holiday period, I’d like to appeal to parents and carers to explain to children the dangers of playing within disused buildings, as they pose a really serious risk with a number of potential dangers within them.”
Pictures from the scene showed numerous fire engines in attendance, as well as paramedics and police.
The nature of the children’s injuries or how the fire started has not yet been revealed although they were first treated at the scene by firefighters and then taken to the hospital.
Five fire engines were battling the flames with Greater Manchester Fire Service helped by crews from Cheshire.
Pictures from the scene in the aftermath show a cordon in place around the scorched site, in Hazel Grove, Stockport. A screen used to board up a window is also visibly damaged after being pulled away in the rescue mission.
A Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service spokesperson said: “At around 8.30pm this evening (26 July), we were called to reports of a fire on the first floor of a two-storey derelict commercial building on London Road, Hazel Grove, Stockport.
“Five engines from Offerton, Whitehill, Marple, Cheadle and Stockport and an additional crew from Cheshire arrived quickly arrived on the scene. Three children were rescued from the building and have been conveyed to hospital by paramedics.
“Crews are now damping down the building and London Road is closed. Firefighters as well as colleagues from North West Ambulance Service and Greater Manchester Police remain on the scene.”