Abandoned building blaze sparks fears

The exterior of the derelict building

The exterior of the derelict building

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FIRE crews had to douse a blaze at an abandoned Wigan college building sparking fears of a return of anti-social behaviour.

The Pagefield campus building next to Mesnes Park was the scene of several nuisance fires throughout last year.

And council staff had to shore up perimeter fences after residents complained of rampaging youth gangs.

Two crews from Wigan and Hindley were called to the two storey former mill on Monday evening to put out a blaze started on the ground floor.

A spokesman for GMFRS said: “Two pumps were called to the Pagefield building just before 5pm and were on site for just under two hours.

“Because of the layout of the building and because it was dark, there was some difficulty extinguishing the fire.

“The new high pressure lance was used and crews were on site on Tuesday morning for further assessment.”

Last year a spate of fires led the borough’s fire chief to issue safety concerns and urged youngster to stay away from the site.

And the area around Mesnes Park, covering the Pagefield building, was subject to an anti-social behaviour dispersal zone order.

Speaking to the Evening Post about the dangers posed by fires in abandoned buildings, borough commander Steve Sheridan said: “How are these youngsters going to get out of a building they don’t know too well after setting a fire?

“They may not be able to just trace their steps. It’s very dangerous.

“Sweeping a smoke-filled place like this is putting firefighters at risk and that’s the last thing we want to do.

“Parents should know where their kids have been and if they are coming in smelling of smoke they should be asking: why?”