Floody hell

A MAJOR town centre store and a new hospital unit have been flooded after Arctic temperatures were followed by a catastrophic thaw.

Marks and Spencer in Wigan town centre couldn’t open for its vital bank holiday sales because rising temperatures sent its sprinkler system haywire and soaked all the stock.

And mopping up was being carried out today at Wigan Infirmary’s new coronary care unit, with a pipe burst swamping it in water.

Fire crews say they have been called out to numerous incidents in recent days as the slight thaw causes damage to homes and businesses. The biggest incident was at Marks and Spencer, in the Grand Arcade, which was forced to delay the launch of its sale after the sprinkler system burst at around 1am yesterday. The shop was flooded, with much of the stock drenched and, at the time of writing, shopping centre staff were unsure when the store would be able to reopen.

Grand Arcade manager John Sanson said: “Marks and Spencer must have a good recovery system in place, as people were in there right away drying out and tidying up.

“We helped to isolate the spinkler system with the store staff, and then the fire crews arrived as sprinkler systems alerted them.

“It’s just a massive clear-up now, and a big shame, as Marks and Spencer were supposed to have their sale from 7am today.”

The new coronary care unit at Wigan hospital was also flooded yesterday due to a burst internal pipe. Firefighters from Wigan arrived at the hospital at around 2.35am to find water coming from the plant room. It had triggered the fire alarm system.

Other fire crews across Wigan had also attended floods at local homes including one on Springfield Road, Springfield. United Utilities said it is experiencing a high volume of calls from worried people across the North West, seeking advice about burst pipes.

By 9am yesterday, the water company had already received 750 calls. A spokesman said: “All we can do is offer people advice if the pipes burst in their own home. They should make sure they know where the stop-tap is in case they do have a leak.”