Residents in blaze rescue

Westbourne Ave, scene of fire rescue
Westbourne Ave, scene of fire rescue

WIGAN’S fire crews were involved in a dramatic rescue after an arson attack trapped three people and a dog in their homes.

Just before 4am yesterday morning the alarm was raised after a sofa was set alight in an alleyway between two semi-detached homes.

Crews from Hindley, Atherton and Leigh’s stations rushed to the incident after it was reported that people were stuck inside.

When they arrived they found that the semi-detached properties had been converted into four flats and the entrance to two of them had been blocked by the blaze.

Two men were dragged from one of the flats first before firemen went back rescue a women who had been asleep and her pet dog, Muttley, was rescued in a third attempt.

It was later discovered that a gas pipe had been cracked as a result of the fire but quick-thinking crews were able to put the blaze out before any real danger developed.

Crew Manager, Simon Cording, said: “When we arrived we quickly established the semi-detached house was in fact converted into four flats and we had a sofa well alight in the alleyway between the flats.

“We knew there were people inside so we quickly carried out rescues.

“I dragged two men out of the smoke logged hall of each of the flats and we also rescued a woman who had been fast asleep.

“We then went back inside to carry out a Staffordshire bull terrier called Muttley.

“The fire had fractured a gas pipe but crews wearing breathing apparatus put the fire out with hoses before isolating the external gas supply, making it safe.”

The fire had spread to the back doors of each of the ground floor flats, on Westbourne Avenue, Leigh, and the blaze left the communal area of the hall and entrance of the properties smoke damaged.

A 35-year-old man was taken to Wigan Infirmary for treatment and it was later established that the blaze had been started deliberately.

Police have appealed for information in connection with the incident, asking that if anyone saw any suspicious behaviour before the emergency arose or knows who is responsible for the fire, to get in touch immediately.

Anyone with details is asked to contact police on the non-emergency 101 number of the freephone Crimestoppers number 0800 555111 anonymously.