A huge fire has engulfed a paintball centre in St Helens as firefighters warn of people trapped inside. Six fire engines are on the scene in an attempt to contain the inferno. Motorists are being warned to avoid the area and people have been told to stay inside and keep their windows shut.

Residents have reported hearing “large explosions” from the scene. Passenger Sue Clark was flying on a Ryanair flight from Cork to Liverpool when she spotted plumes of grey smoke billowing from blaze on Borough Road. The 33-year-old from Maghull told the Liverpool Echo: “I didn’t have a clue what was going on. We were absolutely shocked. The whole plane was looking out the window as the sky and clouds were completely black.”

Merseyside Fire and Rescue said: “Crews were alerted at 5.00pm and were on the scene at just before 5.05pm. Fire Crews arrived to find a large building with an area of around 20 x 30 metres well alight. There have been reports of two people who have entered the building and have not yet come out. There are six fire appliances in attendance.”