Teen arsonist jailed
A teenage arsonist who sparked a fire which saw four people have to be rescues from a block of flats in Wigan has been jailed.
Kieran Harrop was sent to prison for 28 months by Judge Richard Gioserano at Bolton Crown Court following an incident in November at the Scholes flats.
Firefighters used a ladder to pluck some residents from their second floor homes during the blaze, while colleagues wearing breathing apparatus led others to safety.
Extensive damage was caused to five of the nine flats, over three floors, as well as communal areas.
Luckily the two men and two women who were escorted from the property, while they had to be checked out by paramedics, did not require hospital treatment.
Harrop, 18, who had set a fire in his ground floor flat, was arrested shortly after the fire. He was originally charged with arson with intent to endanger life over the fire, which broke out just before 11.45pm on November 23 last year. But prosecutors eventually accepted a guilty plea to an alternative offence of arson reckless as to whether life was endangered.
Harrop was also given a concurrent sentence of one month for an unrelated offence of handling stolen goods.
One neighbour, who asked not to be named, said: “We were told that he might get 10 to 12 years when he was first charged. There’s no-one really around now, after the fire, they all scarpered.”
Passerby Billy Jones, 58, from Whelley, said: “I used to live around here and I’m not surprised, to be honest.
“It caused chaos when it happened and I remember there were fire and police everywhere. It sounds like he got what he deserved,”
Smoke from the ground floor flat spread to neigbouring properties. The flats were sealed off for some time by police forensic investigators while the case was built up against Harrop.
Speaking at the time, Jim Clitheroe, a watch manager at Wigan Fire Station, said: “There was significant damage to the flat with the fire and significant damage to the rest of the property.”