A DEVASTATING blaze has left the future of one of Wigan’s best-known pie firms in doubt.
Firefighters say they cannot rule out an arson attack after the tragic destruction of the William Edwards Bakery at Platt Bridge.
Investigation experts are still piecing together the cause of the fire, but at this stage say they cannot discount the possibility that it was started deliberately. Chairman Bill Edwards and his son Duncan Edwards were unavailable for comment, although both were summoned to the scene and watched in horror as the flames took hold at 1am on Sunday morning.
The emergency services were alerted by locals Danny Lucas and Scott Thompson, who saw smoke and flames pouring from the shop.
At its height, four appliances from Hindley, Wigan and Leigh fire stations – plus six firefighters wearing breathing apparatus – were fighting the inferno which drew a large crowd of onlookers safely behind the incident tapes. Although the fire was centred on the shop premises, the working bakery sections were also heavily smoke-logged. Damping down operations were still continuing many hours later.
It is not known yet if the fire has caused serious structural damage to the famous New Street premises.
Edwards, which has operated in the borough for more than a century, also runs two shops in Wigan which will be affected by the halt to production the incident has caused.
The firm are particularly well known for there range of one-off celebration pies marking such occasions as St Patrick’s Day (an Irish Stew filled pie) and the English breakfast-filled St George’s Day creation.
Hindley fire station’s blue watch commander Dave Thomason said: “The cause of the fire is still under investigation and is yet to be determined.
“We believe at this point, that the fire started in the ground floor shop.
“The shop suffered 100 per cent damage and there was also 100 per cent smoke damage to the rest of the bakery buildings. All in all it was a very severe fire.
“The owner came down while the incident was in progress to give us the relevant information.
“No other properties were affected.”