Investigation set to be launched into fire at old mill

AN investigation is set to be launched into the cause of a blaze that kept firefighters on scene overnight at a former Wigan and Leigh college building.

Crews were called to the former Pagefield campus, just off Mesnes Road, at around 2.30pm yesterday (Thursday).

This morning, firefighters used thermal imaging scanners to identify any hotspots but couldn’t locate any significant heat sources.

They’re expected to remain on site throughout today securing the area before a probe into what started the fire will begin.

Plumes of thick black smoke had been spotted rising from the multi-storey mill building in the middle of the afternoon.

Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) crews from Wigan and Hindley used a hydraulic platform to help them douse the blaze that is believed to have started on the third floor.

Firefighters tackle the blaze at the scene

Firefighters tackle the blaze at the scene

Six engines remained in attendance throughout the evening as well as two aerial platforms.

Residents living nearby were advised to close their windows and doors as a precaution due to smoke and people are advised to avoid the area while crew deal with the incident.

Crews also brought water in from a distance to fight the fire and with hose lines in the road, part of Mesnes Road between Swinley Road and Bridgeman Terrace was closed off.

Incident commander Steve Sheridan said: “Due to the fire being in the roof space and the building being derelict, the fire was difficult to locate and firefighters initially couldn’t get into the building so we had to get water onto the fire from above using the aerial platforms.”
Mr Sheridan also explained how strong winds caused difficulty and meant the smoke spread quite quickly.

Smoke billowing from the burning building

Smoke billowing from the burning building

As a precaution, residents in and around the area of the blaze were asked to close their windows to stop fumes entering their homes.

Dozens of calls were received from residents just after 2.30pm but there was no indication what had caused the fire according to GMFRS.

The mill building has been the scene of outbreaks of anti-social behaviour in recent years.

And a number of fires have been set alight within the building prompting Wigan fire chief Mr Sheridan to issue a safety warning last year.

Firefighters at the scene

Firefighters at the scene

The Salvation Army were also on the scene providing support and refreshments to the crew and officers.

Firefighters inside the Pagefield building

Firefighters inside the Pagefield building