Tree falls into canal during storm

The fallen tree in Poolstock
The fallen tree in Poolstock

GALE force winds of up to 65mph have caused havoc across the borough with a tree collapsing over a canal footpath.

While Wigan’s firefighters didn’t have to deal with many major incidents, there were more than 120 incidents across Greater Manchester on Sunday afternoon.

At one point, every pump in the region was out on call to reports of damaged buildings and fallen trees as well as fires.

This morning (Monday), there is more substantial damage after a tree was ripped from its roots and plundered into the canal at Poolstock.

Luckily nobody was walking beneath on the footpath as it crashed down, just as it was fortunate it didn’t fall the other way into oncoming traffic.

Other fallen trees did cause road blocks though, in Carr Lane, Worsley Mesnes, and Makerfield Way, Ince.

Crews from Wigan were called to a house in Old Road, in Ashton, after gusts of winds had dislodged a slates on the roof. Firefighters climbed on the roof to remove loose tiles to make the area safe.

GMFRS tweeted: “We are dealing with a damaged building at old road, Ashton-in-Makerfield. Debris has been falling from a gable end. We are making it safe.”

Crews were also asked to attend Powys Street, in Atherton, to remove a damaged chimney to prevent it from falling.

The fire service has not reported any injuries relating to the bad weather in the borough.

Meanwhile, elsewhere in Greater Manchester, 16 parts of Manchester’s Christmas Markets had to be closed following safety concerns and a tree fell on a block of flats in Salford.

A roof was also blown off shops in Denton, causing injuries.

In total, the region’s fire crews responded to 126 calls between noon and 3pm yesterday.

David Acton, chairman of Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Authority, said: “The stormy weather has stretched the fire service to the limit and we have been dealing with the various incidents as quickly as we can. Our firefighters and support staff have done an excellent job in extremely difficult conditions.

“The storms have highlighted how we need to maintain our resilience and any further decrease in the numbers of firefighters would have a serious impact on the safety of the people of Greater Manchester.

“I would like to reassure the public that despite the severe pressure on our services currently, we will respond to calls as quickly as we can. If you do not require assistance immediately, please be patient as we prioritise emergency calls.”

To lessen the possibility of needing to call the emergency services during times of increased need, GMFRS has a number of safety messages people can refer to at: http://manchesterfire.gov.uk/fire_safety_advice/