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Incident Date: 05 June 2015
MORE than 20 homes were evacuated overnight as arsonists set fire to a garden fence and damaged a gas supply.
Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service were called to the incident in Aldwick Avenue in Withington just after 1.30am today and found a fence at the back of a semi-detached property well alight.
The fire is believed to have been started deliberately and was set between the back of the houses in Aldwick Avenue and a construction area at the back of St Catherine’s Primary School, off School Lane. The fire was fuelled using debris from the site which in turn set fire to the fence and damaged casing to a gas meter at the building site.
Watch Manager Steve Jordan, from Withington Fire Station, was in charge of the incident. He explained: “When we got here the fence was well alight and we were unable to put it out because the gas meter had been damaged and the fuel was burning. We immediately called for the Police to attend and put a 50 metre cordon in place which included evacuating people from the cul-de-sac as a safety precaution.”
National Grid were also called to the scene to cap the gas supply and the emergency planning officer from Manchester City Council worked with Police officers to support the people displaced from their homes.
Inspector Lee Cooklynn, from Greater Manchester Police, said: “Most of the people displaced have gone to friends or family whilst they cannot get into their homes but there were some people displaced who were being looking after by the local authority.”
Police and crew from Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service are investigating the cause of the fire. It is expected residents will be able to return to their homes later this morning.
UPDATE: 0400HRS Residents have returned to their homes after the gas supply was isolated and the cordon lifted.