Alarming claim over flats arson

Phillip Roughley is angry at Wigan Council as he has to live in a smoke-damaged flat after an arson attack at a block of flats in Farr Close
Phillip Roughley is angry at Wigan Council as he has to live in a smoke-damaged flat after an arson attack at a block of flats in Farr Close

A MAN is claiming that fire alarms in the block of flats where he lives did not go off following an arson attack.

Phillip Roughley, 27, was in his top floor flat on Farr Close in Worsley Mesnes and only became aware of the fire on the ground floor when he heard shouting from outside the Wigan and Leigh Homes building.

Phillip Roughley

Phillip Roughley

He opened his front door to find the building full of smoke and only managed to escape after neighbours propped a ladder against his living room window and he climbed to safety.

Police and fire investigators are treating the incident as arson after petrol was poured over the front door of one of the flats and set alight at around 4pm on Saturday.

He said: “The smoke alarms didn’t go off, I just heard people shouting outside and opened the window to see smoke billowing out.

“I couldn’t get out my front door by then as the smoke was so thick but I was able to escape with the help of neighbours.

The smoke alarms didn’t go off, I just heard people shouting outside and opened the window to see smoke billowing out

Phillip Roughley

“Another lady on the top floor was also trapped. I tried to get to her but couldn’t.”

No one was harmed in the fire but there was smoke damage to the stairwell and the light fittings had melted. The ground floor flat has been boarded up and the occupant found alternative accommodation.

But Phillip is angry that none of the other occupants have been found somewhere else to stay and has slammed Wigan Council for making him continue living in a smoke damaged building.

“The council are still making me live here even though no lights are working in the hallway so it’s pitch black at night and eveywhere is covered in soot and smoke,” he said.

“The front door is burnt and it doesn’t lock so it is really not safe here. I’m terrified if I am honest. I can’t sleep at night for fear that my flat is on fire.”

Phillip said that the council has now offered him alternative accommodation but not until two days after the fire.

The other trapped resident, a woman thought to be in her late 60s, was unable to escape because of the halllways were smoke-logged.

Fire crews advised the woman to stay in her top-floor flat until they had extinguished the fire and cleared smoke from the hallway before two firefighters led her to safety.

All the other residents, including four dogs, escaped unharmed.

Janice Barton, chief executive of Wigan and Leigh Homes, said: “We are aware of a fire at Farr Close, Worsley Mesnes.

“Staff are involved in assessing the impact on both the block and the residents and will be taking any necessary action to assist.

“We have received a complaint from one of the residents and we will be fully investigating his comments and will respond following the investigation. In the meantime our main focus is to support the residents involved.”