STARTLED Wigan residents spoke of “flames as high as the trees” after a suspected arson attack set a caravan and garage ablaze.
Three fire crews from Wigan and Hindley were required to douse the flames to the rear of Hector Road, Marsh Green, in the early hours of yesterday morning.
Police officers are treating the incident as arson after the caravan, car and garage containing another vehicle were destroyed.
Jeff Jones, whose back garden backs onto the land where the fire started, said his daughter had helped raise the alarm.
He said: “We could see the smoke and all of a sudden the fire seemed to ignite and the flames were level with the trees.
“My daughter, Stacey, rushed to the houses that back on to the garages to warn them and get their children out of the houses.
“We could hear hissing noises and were worried that if there were gas cylinders inside they could explode and cause more damage.
“The caravan was all but gone very quickly, it could have spread to the backs of the houses.
“It was quite a scary scene for the young kids, everyone on the street could see it.”
Watch manager Simon Connor said it was lucky that the fire did not cause any further damage and confirmed that there had been gas cylinders inside the caravan.
He said: “We were tackling this one for about 90 minutes, just as we arrived the gas cylinders were starting to fuel the fire which made it difficult for us at first.
“We believe it was a deliberate ignition although we have handed over the matter to the police.
“Caravans do go up very quickly and there was not much of it left afterwards.
“It was lucky that we were alerted quite quickly before the fire was able to spread, we were soon able to bring it under control.”
A spokesman for Greater Manchester Police said: “Officers were called to the rear of the address on Hector Road at just after midnight to reports of a caravan fire.
“At this stage, we are treating the case as arson – an unknown accelerant has been used that caused considerable damage to the garages and a Vauxhall Astra.”
The owner of the garage and caravan was unavailable for comment.
Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact Wigan Police on 101 or the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.