HOMES and businesses in Atherton were evacuated when a blazing inferno at a tyre workshop sparked fears of a gas explosion.
Smoke could be seen for miles around when the fire started at the garage in Mealhouse Lane, Atherton, just after 5pm on Thursday.
Around 15 homes and three businesses were evacuated as firefighters and police declared a 200 metre evacuation zone around Mealhouse Lane, fearing pressurised acetylene cylinders at the site could explode in the heat and a 50 metre cordon was later established.
Tanya Green, 20, whose home overlooks the garage took these chilling photographs showing just how severe and near to property the blaze became.
She said: “They opened the church to let people stay there but we went to stay at my boyfriend’s dad’s, leaving our house at 7pm but when we went back ar 10pm they told us we had to stay out for the night while they cooled the gas canisters.
“My mum rang the police at 7am and they said we could go back in but stay out of the garden because the wall isn’t safe!”
The cause of the blaze is not yet known as the fire investigation team was initially unable to safely enter the building but it is thought that at least part of the building would have to be demolished.
Crews worked through the night to extinguish the flames, using three jets from all angles and were still at the site the following morning.
A spokesman for Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service said: “The fire caused a substantial amount of damage and safety inspectors called for partial demolition.”