Arsonists hit homes in bin fire

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WIGAN fire crews are carrying out reassurance campaigns after a wheelie bin blaze set three homes alight.

Engines from Hindley, Leigh, Atherton and Farnworth were called to Sandringham Drive in Higher Fold, Leigh, after flames rapidly took hold from what initially seemed like a minor emergency.

Watch Manager Jim Bridge said: “We were called to what was described as a bin fire near to a house so we set off on blue lights, but when we got there we could see a row of terraces and a roof on fire.

“A fire that had been started deliberately in a bin at the back of the house had set fire to a number of bins and had flared up the side of the house setting fire to the windows and the roof and was spreading into the roof space of the two adjoining houses.

“The fire was pretty serious, luckily the house was unoccupied but there were people in the houses either side so we evacuated them.

“Crews in breathing apparatus went into all three houses and put the fire out with a jet and hose reel, limiting the spread of the blaze.

“Although there was relatively little damage to the two homes, this could have been very serious so we have been carrying out a reassurance campaign in the area.”

Up to 10 Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service volunteers and 15 firefighters from Leigh and Wigan have been knocking on doors in the area around Sandringham Drive since last Thursday afternoon’s incident offering advice and reassurance to residents.

Area Manager Dave Keelan, Head of Prevention at GMFRS, said: “Thankfully no one was injured in this blaze, and things could have been so much worse, so we’ll be reassuring the community.

“Bin safety is so important, crews will be handing out a leaflet containing advice about keeping bins well away from homes.

“By keeping them at least one metre away from windows and walls, should a bin fire occur, the fire shouldn’t spread, but it is important to make sure any escape routes aren’t blocked.”

Wigan Borough Manager Steve Sheridan said: “It’s clear for everyone in the area to see just what a serious fire this was - but thankfully, on this occasion, no one was hurt.

“People don’t often think about the effects of a fire, so today we’re going to strike while the iron is hot and reassure people and I will be working with partners from Wigan Council too so that they can help us get that message across.”