Wigan new-build engulfed in flames after suspected arson

Wigan firefighters are calling for an investigation into the safety of certain construction materials after a new-build was engulfed in flames last night.

Thursday, 19th July 2018, 10:38 am
Updated Thursday, 19th July 2018, 11:47 am
Firefighters said the house was quickly engulfed by flames

Three fire engines from Wigan and Hindley were called the blaze at a partially-built house on Leigh Street last night at around 9.45pm.

Firefighters have described how the building was engulfed by fire in a matter of minutes after what is believed to have been an act of arson.

The fire was so fierce that residents on the other side of Scotsman’s Flash in Wigan had a clear view of smoke spewing into the air.

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Firefighters said the house was quickly engulfed by flames

Watch manager Mark Anderson said: “The fire, which was at a house currently under construction, was well alight by the time we got there.

“It was totally torched. Preliminary thoughts are that it was started deliberately as there wasn’t any kind of accidental ignition source at the site at all.

“We think someone might have come along and set fire to the materials with a lighter.”

Watch manager Anderson believes that the materials used to build the house could have contributed to how fast the flames spread.

The materials used

“It was quite an unusual construction,” he said. “There are polystyrene blocks which appear to have been opened up and slotted into place and then filled to make a concrete structure.

“I haven’t seen them up close before, only on the television.

“The foam that they use is really flammable. It’s gone up like a torch. The speed it went up was pretty shocking, it has been completely destroyed.

“We are going to ask our safety department to have a look at it because it is beyond my level of expertise.”

Smoke could be seen for miles around

Firefighters managed to put the flames out in just 45 minutes using all of their hose reels. “We just blasted it,” said watch manager Anderson. “We just wanted to wash it out as quickly as possible - which is what we did.

"I would urge anyone to keep as few flammable materials on their sites as possible and to take every step to make sure that people cannot gain access to anywhere flammable materials are kept."

No one was injured in the fire.

Police were called to the scene. Inquiries into the cause of the fire are ongoing.