Environment Agency alerted after Wigan fire spews deadly asbestos into the air

Firefighters have warned the Environment Agency after a Wigan shed fire spewed asbestos into the air. Crews were called to reports of a fire at a home in Shevington last week.

The fire, which started in a shed in the back garden of the property, engulfed two sheds and a garage – one of which was laden with asbestos. Wigan fire crews tackled the flames quickly, preventing the fire from spreading to the house, but were forced to inform the Environment Agency after a “large” amount of asbestos was throw into the air from within the garage.

Watch Manager Carl Gleaves said:

“We had to tell all residents nearby to close their windows and inform the Environment Agency that quite a significant amount of absestos had entered the atmosphere. As people normally do with sheds, there were gas cylinders for barbecues and petrol cannisters. Quite a significant amount of flammable materials were burning inside.

There were a few explosions from small camping gas cylinders but fortunately the large 15kg one didn’t go off. We managed to get there in time and put copious amounts of water on the property’s conservatory to stop it from spreading onto the house but the flames were roughly 7 to 8m away and had started to cause damage.”

Watch Manager Gleaves said that any damage caused to the house was “superficial”, including melted guttering and browning to the white PVC windows.

The fire is believed to have started accidentally but fire crews are urging people to store any flammable materials in a locked away compartment to prevent any deliberate ignition and to keep them well away from open flames.

The team stayed for around two hours fighting the fire and ensuring that the property was safe.