Police investigate arson attacks

Arson attack at Atherton MOT Centre
Arson attack at Atherton MOT Centre

POLICE are investigating arson attacks which targeted two long-established businesses and cost almost £350,000 in damage.

In one incident, flames engulfed Spring View Motors, in Moss Street, Spring View, leaving buildings and contents wrecked.

Fire crews from Wigan, Hindley and Atherton attended the scene. Two units, which stored vehicles, car parts, engines and tyres, were completely destroyed.

An explosion, caused by a propane gas cylinder, hampered their efforts.

Watch manager Tony Callaghan, of Hindley Fire Station, said: “The fire started on the outside of one of the units, which stored old tyres and plastic bumpers, and travelled through a window and spread to the next building. We broke into the third unit, and managed to stop the fire spreading there. The partition wall between two units has collapsed, so a structural engineer will have to assess its safety.

“It was a dangerous job, as directly behind the door was a forklift truck, which was fuelled by a propane gas cylinder. That exploded and buckled. Luckily, we did not have the doors open at that point. The units are completely destroyed.”

Owner Mike Simpkin, a father-of-two, was devastated about the loss of his business, fearing it will take a long time to rebuild. He said: “I got a phone call that night saying the garage was on fire, so I went to have a look. It is 20 years down the drain. I started from scratch, and it has gone in one night. Everything is lost and destroyed.

“There must be a quarter of a million pounds worth of damage.

“The buildings are beyond repair and will have to be demolished. I have lost all of my equipment and everything I use for my business. There is no hope whatsoever of carrying on in there.

“Someone set fire to a container and it spread to the units. I have been here all night, and watched it burn to the ground. I am absolutely devastated and numb.”