Wigan flat blaze: Man charged with arson

The boarded up window of the flat above Cartridge World
The boarded up window of the flat above Cartridge World

A man has appeared in court accused of an arson attack on a Wigan home.

Paul Lowe, 33, of City Road, Kitt Green Road, was arrested by police investigating a terrifying early hours blaze at an upstairs flat in Pemberton from which two people were injured trying to escape it.

Fire crews could see smoke on the main road before reaching the property over the Cartridge World store, where they found Kerry Monks and Ryan McCormick trapped inside.

A third person had escaped out of the window, breaking his wrist as he landed on the street below.

Brave firefighters immediately sprang into action, climbing a ladder to rescue the pair, who were hanging out of the window of the flat.

Crews said that the occupants had smashed the window with a table so that they could breathe and in an attempt to escape the property.

They said there was a lot of smoke inside and the man and woman were fighting breathe.

The victims had also suffered cuts to their hands and both received hospital treatment after the rescue.

A semi-conscious Staffordshire terrier was also rescued from the flat and revived using specialist canine breathing apparatus.

At the time of the incident - on Tuesday, March 20 - fire crews said that there was evidence that the blaze had been set deliberately and contacted police who launched an arson investigation.

Crews from three fire engines also had to work quickly to isolate a gas pipe which had been damaged during the fire and was leaking, thus posing another serious hazard.

The flat was said to have been left uninhabitable by the smoke and flames

Lowe appeared in the dock at Wigan and Leigh Magistrates’ Court this week accused of damaging by fire, to a value unknown, a property belonging to James Mulvaney intending to destroy or damage the property and being reckless as to endangering the lives of Kerry Monks and Ryan McCormick.

Due to the seriousness of the crime, it has to be dealt with at a higher court and so the case was sent to be heard before a Bolton judge on November 14.

Lowe has yet to enter a plea and he was released on unconditional bail pending that next court appearance.