Six escape from Halliwell blaze
TERRIFIED neighbours have spoken of their shock after arsonists set fire to a block of flats.
Firefighters had to evacuate people living in Bexley House, Kenton Close, Halliwell, after yobs set a disused bin store alight at just after 10pm on Sunday.
Smoke filled communal corridors and rooms in downstairs flats.
Neighbours living in the block were kept outside for 45 minutes, but no-one was hurt in the blaze. A plastic window pane melted and the wooden door covering the bin store was burnt.
Police, who were also called to the incident have now launched an investigation.
John Gorner, who lives in the flat nearest to the fire, said: “I could smell smoke and assumed that it was a chip pan on fire somewhere else in the building.
“I came out of my door and there were flames nearly up to the ceiling next to the entrance.
“People shove litter in that little alcove, even though they’re not supposed to, and someone had clearly torched that.
“I went round knocking on doors and we got everyone out of the building.
“There must have been six or seven people outside in the cold watching the firefighters dealing with it.
“When I finally went back into my flat, my kitchen floor was covered in water that must have got through the wall from where the firefighters were using the hoses.” Mr Gorner, who has lived in Bexley House for three years, said the area is usually quiet and there have been no arson attacks in the time he has lived there.
There have been a spate of bin fires across Bolton, with four bins set alight within the space of two hours by a gang of arsonists in Great Lever last year.
And in May 2008, Hameeda Begum, aged 71, and her four-year-old granddaughter Alana Mian died after an horrific arson attack at their home, which saw yobs set fire to wheelie bin outside their door.
In August 2012, Yasmin Qureshi, MP for Bolton South East, appealed to the Home Secretary for help in catching the perpetrators, who have still not been brought to justice.
Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue authority chairman, Cllr David Acton said: “Bin safety is very important and it is wise to keep them well away from homes – especially during the bonfire night period.
“By keeping your bins at least one metre away from windows, fences and walls, if they set alight the fire shouldn’t spread – but make sure you’re not blocking any escape routes.”
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