Skelmersdale Concourse Shopping Centre was evacuated this afternoon after reports of a fire. Emergency services were called to the scene as pictures showed shoppers evacuating from the building.

At just before 3pm pictures emerged of shoppers still gathered outside the building in the car park.

Janet Parker, a shopper at the scene, said there is “strong smell of smoke” in the air.

She told the Liverpool Echo: “It smells really strongly of smoke.

“I had to move away as it smelt so bad.

“There are clouds of grey smoke, but I can’t see any flames coming out of the downstairs door.”

Around four fire engines are believed to be on the scene amid the reports of a fire.

Thick smoke was seen coming from the building filling the concourse.

At just after 3.10pm, shopper Janet Parker told the Liverpool Echo there are still crowds of people waiting to be allowed back into the building.

She said: “People are just milling around outside in the rain waiting to be allowed back in.

“It looks like fire crews have gone into the warehouse part of the building.”

A spokesman from Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service said: “We were called at 14.04pm to the concourse.

“Three fire engines arrived at the scene from Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service and one from Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service.

“A fire was found involving a recycling compactor in the basement.

“Firefighters equipped with breathing apparatus are using a jet to extinguish the fire. No injuries are reported.”

NHS West Lancashire wrote that due to the fire, the NHS walk in centre was closed.

Writing on Twitter, they said: “Due to a fire at the #Concourse in #Skelmersdale. The walk-in centre is temporarily closed. The Urgent Treatment Centre at #Ormskirk Hospital is open. A list of all health services is available below”.

West Lancashire Borough Council wrote: “The @westlancsbc Customer Service Point in the Concourse Shopping Centre in #Skelmersdale is currently closed.

“You can access many Council services online, or call our contact centre on 01695 577177.”

Skelmersdale Concourse Shopping Centre is a multi-level shopping centre with high street stores and a budget market area.

The centre is home to over 70 well-known shops and a number of popular fast food outlets.

The shopping centre is located northeast of Liverpool near Wigan, in Lancashire.

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