Plea to stay away from historic Wigan mill as firebugs start another blaze

Firefighters are urging people to stay away from a derelict Wigan mill as they are being called to incidents there almost every day.

Pagefield Mil in Swinley has become a hot-spot for arson attacks and anti-social behaviour in recent years and firefighters were called there again on Friday night.

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The blaze started just before 8.50pm on the third floor of the building, before spreading to the roof.

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Five fire engines from across the borough, including an aerial appliance, were needed and crews spent three hours working to bring the fire under control.

Residents in the area were told to keep their doors and windows closed as fire crews worked.

It was the latest in a series of incidents at the historic site, despite countless efforts to keep people away.

Another warning has now been issued to highlight the risks posed by going onto the site and the numerous arson attacks.

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Fire crews used an aerial appliance as they worked to tackle the blaze

Gerry Davis, watch manager at Wigan fire station, said: “It’s a dangerous site and it’s a drain on our resources to be going there every day or every other day.

"People are going in there and starting fires purposely. They are putting themselves at risk and putting us at risk. There are contaminants from the smoke and the building is not safe.

“They are tying up resources, because Wigan’s fire cover is depleted for a few hours and we are pulling in resources from other parts of the county to cover for us.”

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The listed building was once a hive of activity as a mill and later became part of Wigan and Leigh College, but has been vacant in recent years.

It is now in a state of disrepair, having become a magnet for anti-social behaviour, and emergency services have been called there many times.

Wigan Council and other organisations have made many efforts to secure the site, including demolishing some of the buildings and getting closure orders making it illegal to trespass on the site.

But the mill is privately owned and they have been pressing for the owners to take action, to no avail.