Residents call for scrap fire probe

Residents of Elizabeth Drive
Residents of Elizabeth Drive

RESIDENTS living next to the scene of a spectacular waste blaze which tore through a Wigan recycling centre say they are concerned about what is being stored within yards of their homes.

Flames are said to have leapt 90 feet in the air and were visible from Blackrod on the edge of Bolton 10 miles away after the inferno at Isherwood Skip Hire.

More than 300 tons of scrap wood piled in a large mound 30ft tall was at the heart of the blaze in Ince at what was once the Moss Pit coal sorting yard.

Neighbouring residents in Elizabethan Drive are anxious for guarantees about what is being stored on the site, which is completely hidden from outside eyes, sitting in a giant circular landscaped area.

Retired Ray Catterall has now developed a sore throat which he claims is a result of inhaling fumes from the massive fire, which firemen believe was started maliciously.

He said: “What really concerns us is just what is being stored on the site and whether it is all licensed.

“If this fire had broken out a fortnight ago when everywhere was tinder dry and a balmy breeze was blowing from the south this fire could easily have channelled down the railway embankments because they are no longer cut back like they were once and spread the fire over a large part of Ince.

“How the Health and Safety Executive granted a licence for this plant is beyond us.

“We are told it’s ok as the smoke is clean because it has come from wood so what about my sore throat?

“As far as I am concerned we are being treated like idiots by the council.”

The Environment Agency has confirmed that it is investigating what was stored on the site of Cemetery Road and whether there has been any contravention of its waste operators licence.

Fire chiefs said that because of the nature of what is believed to have been at the heart of the fire, waste wood, the large clouds of smoke would not have represented a health threat.

Isherwood Skip Hire declined to comment.