Cigarette cause of care home blaze

Norfolk House, Norfolk Street, Springfield
Norfolk House, Norfolk Street, Springfield
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A cigarette which was not fully stubbed out was the cause of a large fire at a Wigan care home last weekend, the fire service has confirmed.

Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) said discarded smoking materials had been left in a bedroom at Norfolk House in Springfield.

The discovery of the fire’s cause comes after rumours that the Norfolk Street home was using untested electrical equipment were emphatically quashed by Wigan Council.

The local authority did confirm it had received an informal message last month expressing concern that portable heaters which had not been Pat safety tested were being used in rooms.

However, the council’s investigation found there was no evidence such equipment was being used as the heating had been fixed when town hall representatives visited.

In addition, the investigators found one of the care providers at the home was a fully qualified electrical tester.

Firefighters were called to the home on Saturday evening and immediately faced a race against time to stop the flames spreading beyond the room where the blaze broke out.

They were successful but the home still had to be completely evacuated and residents moved to another care home for a night as the upstairs still badly smelled of smoke.

The residents went to another home in the borough owned by the same care provider but were back in Norfolk House within 24 hours.

Wigan Council praised the community-spirited actions of several residents in Springfield who allowed elderly people living at Norfolk House to wait in their homes in the warmth while their alternative accommodation was arranged.

Jo Willmott, assistant director for provider management at Wigan Council, said: “Thanks to a quick response and the community pulling together all residents of Norfolk House were evacuated and relocated without any injury including off-duty staff coming in to help temporarily move residents to another care centre.

“All residents were returned to the home on Sunday and emotional support is also being put in place for any residents affected by the incident.

“We would like to thank all those who helped to relocate residents and the support offered by staff, including those off-duty who came in to help out along with families who also helped.”