Rough sleepers cheat arson death

News story
News story

TWO homeless people were lucky to escape with their lives when arsonists set a blaze near to where they slept.

Firefighters were called to Glebe Street in Leigh, at around 9.30pm on Tuesday just at the side of the B&Q superstore, after reports of what seemed to be a routine small rubbish fire.

Thankfully nobody was hurt in this incident. But not only did the two people sleeping rough have their own camp fire, a rubbish fire was started close by which could have quickly spread and surrounded the pair

But upon arrival the emergency crew from Atherton found it to be the temporary home of two rough sleepers.

Now experts have issued a warning, calling for those without a proper roof over their heads to be more aware of the dangers they face from arsonists and outdoor fires.

A spokesman for the Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service said: “Thankfully nobody was hurt in this incident. But not only did the two people sleeping rough have their own camp fire, a rubbish fire was started close by which could have quickly spread and surrounded the pair.

“I urge people to remember the dangers of sleeping rough and not in a designated campsite. They don’t know who could be knocking around, ready to cause trouble and anybody can come and set fire to the grass they lay on or the tent they’re in in seconds. Rough sleepers need to be more mindful of their surroundings.”

And a homeless charity has backed the warning, not only to ensure rough sleepers are safe but to also remind the general public about the potential for tragedy that could come from mischief-making like setting fire to rubbish.

Crisis and help team leader at The Brick Homeless Charity Mark Leigh said: “This is a very worrying incident which could have resulted in a much worse and very different ending. I would urge any rough sleepers that they need to be aware of their surroundings at all times and whenever possible they need to be seeking housing advice in order to help and put themselves in a much safer environment.

“The general public also need to be mindful that something which may seem ‘fun’ at the time may have a very different and tragic outcome.”