Appeal to parents after black smoke filled sky in scrap yard fire

Parents are being urged to know where their children are during the coronavirus lockdown after firefighters spent several hours tackling a suspected arson attack.

Monday, 13th April 2020, 9:57 am
Updated Monday, 13th April 2020, 10:16 am

Up to 20 people called 999 at 7pm on Sunday when a large plume of black smoke filled the sky.

Firefighters rushed to a scrap yard on Melrose Avenue in Westleigh, where caravans, cars and other items were alight.

Two fire engines attended, travelling from Wigan and Atherton, and spent three hours tackling the fire.

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Firefighters spent three hours at the scrapyard

Carl Gleaves, watch manager at Wigan fire station, said: “As we got there we saw a big, black plume of smoke which was getting worse. We dealt with it with as few resources as we could.”

It was not a simple job though, due to the flammable items on the site including possible gas cylinders, windy weather and other factors.

He said: “We had difficulty in getting access due to the location and difficulty in getting water. There were plenty of hazards.

“It’s not like our bread-and-butter jobs and to understand where the dangers came from, we had to slow down and make sure people didn’t get hurt.”

Around half of the scrap yard was involved in the blaze and crews returned on Monday morning to check the fire had been fully extinguished.

It is thought the fire was started deliberately.

Mr Gleaves said: “We have reason to believe youths were in the vicinity and possibly set this deliberately. We have no evidence to back that up and have informed the police.

“It’s become a worrying trend at the moment, particularly during the lockdown, that youths are setting fire to things.”

He added: “Parents, keep a close eye on where your children are. They are clearly in breach of the rules issued by the Government at the minute.”

Anyone with information about the cause of the fire is asked to call police on 101.

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