Wigan town centre road sealed off as firefighters battle flats blaze

A Wigan town centre road was closed to rush hour traffic as firefighters battled a blaze at apartments.
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Five teenagers were initially arrested on suspicion of arson with intent to endanger life, but investigators have since concluded that the cause of the fire was accidental.

Police and fire were called to the flats next to the abandoned St Joseph's church on Caroline Street, Wigan, after a passing ambulance spotted flames and smoke at 6am on Thursday June 29.

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Four fire engines were involved in tackling the blaze at semi-refurbished flats on Caroline Street next to the abandoned St Joseph's ChurchFour fire engines were involved in tackling the blaze at semi-refurbished flats on Caroline Street next to the abandoned St Joseph's Church
Four fire engines were involved in tackling the blaze at semi-refurbished flats on Caroline Street next to the abandoned St Joseph's Church
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Four crews, from Wigan, Hindley and Atherton, attended the scene and one person who had been inside was safely out before they arrived.

The flats are in the process of being refurbished and were not yet ready for occupation. It is believed, however, that rough sleepers have been using them.

And police say that five teenagers were inside the premises although they came to no harm.

Wigan watch manager Mike Fairhurst said that the main damage was caused to the second-storey flooring and first floor ceiling.

Fire crews at the scene of the fire on Caroline Street, WiganFire crews at the scene of the fire on Caroline Street, Wigan
Fire crews at the scene of the fire on Caroline Street, Wigan
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A spokesperson for Greater Manchester Police said: “ At approximately 6.10am this morning, Thursday June 29, police responded to calls of five people reported in a derelict building that had caught fire.

“Colleagues from GMFRS also attended. The five people, believed to be children, were removed from the building and returned home.

“There were no injuries reported and the fire was extinguished, with GMFRS securing the building.

"There was no suggestion that the children had set the fire, who were using the building as a shelter.

Caroline Street was closed off to rush hour traffic for more than 90 minutes because of the flats blazeCaroline Street was closed off to rush hour traffic for more than 90 minutes because of the flats blaze
Caroline Street was closed off to rush hour traffic for more than 90 minutes because of the flats blaze
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For safety reasons police closed off Caroline Street and surrounding side streets and diverted traffic onto Poolstock and the A49 link road, causing some congestion.

But the incident was all but over by 7.30am and the road was re-opened.

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