Wigan van fire causes major damage to two houses
UPV fascias and soffits were melted and burned away while windows shattered in the heat at the front of the semi-detached homes in Bransfield Close, Hawkley Hall.
Fencing, a shed and its contents were destroyed while a gas pipe and the electricity cable to the victim’s home were ruptured.
To make matters worse, the fire then got into the wall cavity of the van owner’s house, setting cabling and insulation alight and meaning that a Wigan fire crew had to make holes in the walls and blast water into the space with a high pressure hose.
A couple in their 50s live in the house and the man had been trying to get the Peugeot van started on the morning of Friday May 20 without any success.
He went inside only for someone to raise the alarm at about 10.25am to say that the vehicle was on fire.
Because the van was so close to the home, fence and shed, the flames quickly spread, wrecking the frontage of the house and the one next door.
Watch manager Nigel Shepherd said: “What started off as a simple vehicle fire became something much bigger very quickly because of the risk of spreading to other properties. We upgraded the incident and ultimately it proved a very testing one indeed which took us four hours to deal with.
"The gas pipe ruptured and the gas was burning while the electricity was arcing so we had to call Cadent and Electricity North West to cap them off.
"We couldn’t use the hoses inside until the electricity had been dealt with and then we were forced to make quite a mess because of the need to use the high pressure lance.”
Mr Shepherd said that there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding the initial fire which wrecked the van, the likeliest cause being a mechanical one involving either the starter motor or the alternator.
The vehicle’s engine was not believed to have been running when the fire broke out.