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Incident Date: 25 March 2018
Fire investigation at Westleigh Methodist Primary School
AN investigation by Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) has found that the fire at Westleigh Methodist Primary School in Leigh on Sunday, March 25 was most likely caused by electric solar panels on the roof of the main hall of the school.
The bank of solar panels which are embedded onto the roof on one of the buildings at the primary school is where the fire originated – and is thought to be due to an electrical fault with the panels. Due to fire damage to the panels and electricals, fire officers cannot determine exactly why the electrical fault occurred.
Station Manager Chris Roberts said: “A GMFRS Fire Investigation officer examined the fire burn patterns and determined that the source of the fire was at roof level. The fire started on the right hand side of the roof, where a number of solar panels were in place – causing the fire to spread resulting the whole roof being ablaze. The pattern of the fire burn would also conclude that the fire’s origin was in the vicinity of the solar panels.
“Examination on the inside of the main hall found charring on the top of the wooden beams which were situated under the roof of the building which would only occur if the fire was above the beam. Due to the intense heat of the fire, wiring from the panels were burnt away so we are unable to determine if or why an electrical fault occurred.
“An eyewitness account that was given to the emergency services when the fire first started stated that they saw approximately four solar panels on the roof of the school on fire. These panels were located on the right hand side of the roof area. This account also supports the outcome of our investigation in determining the area of origin where the fire started and in identifying any materials that could possible cause a fire to start .”
Sunday, March 25, 2018
The incident has scaled down three fire engines and Fire Investigation are on the scene to determine the cause of the fire.
Crews will continue to dampen down fire pockets within the main hall. Cordons have been reduced and nearby roads have reopened.
The fire has been contained to the main hall of the single storey school and crews are currently assessing the scene for the next steps. Four firefighters wearing breathing apparatus are using two jets and short extension ladder, as well as tackling the remaining fire from height using two jets.
Officer in charge, Station Manager Roberts said: “Thanks to the hard work of our crews the main fire has now been extinguished and thankfully the fire has been contained to the main hall. We are continuing to extinguish fire pockets within the building from two sectors.
“There is no further spread to other buildings at the school but its likely crews will be in attendance throughout the day.
“Cordons are place, so please avoid the area if possible. Currently Westleigh Lane to Nell Pan Lane and Sovereign Fold are closed and are expected to be for a number of hours.”
AT 10:52 four fire engines from Hindley, Atherton, Wigan and Leigh, along with the hydraulic platform from Bolton were called to a fire at Westleigh Methodist Primary School in Leigh.
The fire is involving the roof main hall at the primary school, measuring 50 x 100 metres. All upper levels of the school are well alight.
Crew are fighting the fire from height and four firefighters wearing breathing apparatus are extinguishing the flames using four jets and a 9 metre ladder.