THESE pictures show the aftermath of a devastating fire which has wrecked a family home.
Neighbours spotted smoke coming from the semi-detached bungalow in Simpkin Street, Abram, at 6pm on Wednesday and called the fire service.
The owners of the house were out at the time of the blaze, and returned shortly after neighbours alerted them.
The fire is believed to have been started by an overheated halogen lamp in the kitchen, which damaged the kitchen, dining room, loft and roof space.
Lynn Jardine, 37, has lived in the house with her partner Leon and two children, Aimee, four, and three-year-old Cameron, for five years, and was shocked to discover her home was on fire.
She said: “My next door neighbour rang to tell me what had happened, as we were all out.
“I didn’t know what was going through my mind – I was just thankful everybody, including our cats, was safe. I feel shaken up and devastated.”
Neighbours living in the adjoining bungalow feared for their lives, as smoke seeped into their home.
Zoe Gaskell, 26, said: “The house was full of smoke. My brother, Karl, 23, and I were looking all over the house for the fire and opened all the windows.
“The next thing, neighbours were knocking on our door and told us to get out as there was a fire. If it was at night, none of us would have known.”
Dad Tony added: “It has affected our house a lot, as it was near our roof space, so it was quite worrying.”
Another neighbour, Pat Adair, 62, told of her fear for her neighbours as she didn’t know where the smoke was coming from.
She said: “We smelt smoke at the back and thought it was coming from outside.
“Our other neighbours thought it was their house and we were all panicking. We then saw the fire, which was pretty bad.
“We just hoped no one was in the house.
“There were four fire engines and two other fire vans – crews were there all night.”
Crews from Hindley, Wigan, Leigh and Atherton all attended the blaze, using three jets, six breathing apparatus and two roof ladders.
Firefighters were at the scene overnight, and spent most of yesterday cleaning up the mess and emptying the roof space.
Watch Commander Dave Thomason, of Hindley Fire Service, said: “The fire was well-developed in the roof space – no flames were visible, but there was smoke damage visible from the roof tiles. We managed to stop the fire from spreading to next door.
“It was lucky no one was in. But there would have been nothing they could have done if they were present, because the fire was difficult to access.
“There was nothing that could have been done to prevent it.”