A Wigan couple was forced to evacuate their home in the middle of the night after a huge shed fire spread to a nearby block of flats.
At around 3am today (Wednesday), firefighters were called to Silverdale Avenue in Ince to reports of a shed fire.
The blaze, which is believed to have been started deliberately, was so big that by the time crews arrived, the flames had spread to a nearby block of flats.
Due to the intensity of the heat, the windows in two of the flats had smashed and the fascias and guttering were in flames.
Two of the apartments were unoccupied but the tenants of another flat had been in bed at the time the fire broke out and had managed to escape to the street outside.
Watch manager Mark Anderson said: “It was quite a noisy fire, a lot of wood popping and glass smashing.
“It was so fierce that it had smashed some of the windows.
“The woman had woken up and seen what was happening. She woke her boyfriend and the two were able to get out.
“It had the potential to be very serious if they hadn’t woken up and if it had been five or ten minutes later the flames would have spread and caused a lot more damage.”
On arrival firefighters believed that the flames were coming from inside the apartment block.
Thankfully the couple had also been alerted by a smoke alarm which was fitted in one of the vacant properties.
Firefighters have stressed the importance of having a working smoke alarm.
Watch manager Anderson added: “We would urge everyone to check their smoke alarms as they do save lives.”
Crews have said that although the cause of the fire is as yet unknown, it is believed to have been set deliberately.