WHAT caused the huge inferno that engulfed a Wigan block of flats and left hundreds of tenants homeless remains cloaked in mystery.
Following an in-depth investigation involving both Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service and Greater Manchester Police, which has taken almost three months, officers admit their findings into the Wharfside apartments disaster are inconclusive.
Within minutes of the blaze breaking out at the canalside buildings near Wigan Pier, there was talk that the flames had originate from a barbecue on a high balcony.
But a spokesman for GMFRS said: “The investigation has been carried out but the cause is inconclusive. We can say it was not deliberate and was an accident, but we can’t say what the source was.”
More than 200 people in 132 flats were raised from their beds in the early hours of June 14 as smoke and flames began to billow into rooms and corridors. Luckily no-one was injured, as firefighters successfully evacuated the five-storey block although its largely wooden structure made the blaze difficult to tackle and there was a lot of extra damage caused by the thousands of gallons of water poured in to staunch it.
At the height of the emergency, 15 fire engines and 100 firefighters were at the scene. With tenants stranded outside in their nightwear, students and staff from ALRA organised emergency aid from Mill at the Pier base, with support from the Salvation Army, supermarkets and the local community.
Wigan Council’s housing teams moved swiftly to set residents in temporary accommodation and those living in the least affected parts of the building, run by Contour Property Services moved back at the beginning of July. Those who are housed in a section nearer the fire moved back earlier this month. But those who inhabited the section directly hit by the fire have been told they will have to wait until next year to return.