Two young boys are feared missing after a huge fire has engulfed an indoor paintball centre. Residents have reported hearing “large explosions” from the scene at the ‘Desert Storm’ building in St Helens, Merseyside. Fire crews were alerted to the blaze at 5pm on Monday and arrived at the scene five minutes later. Six fire engines are tacking the fire.

A woman said she felt “sick” at the thought of two kids trapped inside. She said: “It looks like they are getting it under control but no one has been brought out.” Thick, black clouds spilled into the sky as people reported seeing them from miles away.

According to residents in the area, police have been called to the building – which has been closed since January – a ‘number of times’ following reports of kids hanging round outside. Nearby roads and factories have been closed and motorists have been warned to avoid the area.