‘There will be a death’ – mill fire warning

Firefighters at the scene of a fire at the former Pagefield College derelict building
Firefighters at the scene of a fire at the former Pagefield College derelict building

Fire chiefs have issued a grave warning to yobs who are breaking into an insecure derelict building and torching rubbish.

Crews from Wigan were called to the abandoned Pagefield mill, next to Mesnes Park, twice on Monday night after youths deliberately set fires.

The building, which has stood empty for many years, is the subject of many safety warnings as there have been many occasions where the youths set fire to rubbish and then scarper,

But watch manager Tony Callahan has warned youths they are putting their lives at risk.

He said: “Somebody is going to get seriously injured in that place.

“Luckily we go to the second blaze on the third floor before it spread.

“There are a lot of unprotected staircases and floorboards. It is a really dangerous place to be.

“And when the youths see the police or fire service coming they will run off in a panic, causing them to fall. There are lots of pieces of wood with nails etc they can get caught on.”

Coun George Davies has worked with the police and Wigan Council to secure the site and warns of its dangers.

He said: “There will be a death there one day if people don’t listen to warnings.

“We are also concerned for the safety of firefighters who risk their lives in this unstable building to put out fires.”

He added that the authority has put a fence around the mill and will cut shrubbery back so it is more open.

There are also calls for CCTV to be extended to the site.

Mike Worden, assistant director for planning and transport at Wigan Council, said: “We continue to work with the owners of the site and the police to make it as secure as possible. Security measures have been put in place for a reason. It is important to remember that not only is trespassing illegal but they are also putting themselves in danger.”