UPDATED: 20-tonne tyre fire was arson — police
A HUGE blaze involving 20 tonnes of tyres was a “mindless” arson attack, according to police.
The fire, which ripped through the massive pile of tyres in Campbell Street, Farnworth, in the early hours of Saturday morning, was started deliberately in the yard outside Cawdor Mill.
Firefighters have now alerted local businesses to the “heightened risk” of an arson attack and are advising them on how best to protect their property.
The fire started at about 3.30am and continued for several hours into the afternoon, with 45 firefighters drafted in to tackle it.
Significant damage has been caused to the mill, while residents were advised to stay inside for several hours and temporary road closures were put in place.
Nearby businesses suffered some water damage but sprinkler systems ensured the fire did not spread. No one was injured.
Det Cons Khal Rahim, from Farnworth police station, said: “This investigation is at an early stage and we encourage anyone with information to get in touch with us to help with our inquiries.
“Arson is an extremely serious and dangerous crime and this mindless act at the weekend has affected the livelihoods of a number of people.
“We will not tolerate such incidents in our community.”
Ian Bailey, the Bolton borough commander for Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, said preventing a repeat of the attack is now the priority for his team after they passed the investigation on to police.
He added: “We need to highlight the fact there has been an arson attack to local businesses and help them protect themselves. There is a heightened risk of an attack, hopefully it won’t happen again but you can’t rule it out.
“Even keeping certain objects locked away inside could take an arson target away from someone.”
Cllr Asif Ibrahim, for Farnworth, who lives near to the mill, said: “Arson is extremely serious and this matter, because of the size and circumstances of the fire, needs a full and thorough investigation from police. It could have had far-reaching consequences and been a lot worse but we were fortunate that nobody was hurt.”
With residential streets very close to the mill, Cllr Ibrahim added that firefighters had done “extremely well” to control the fire and stop it spreading.
Any information should be reported to Bolton CID on 0161 856 5697 or Crimestoppers anonymously on freephone number 0800 555 111.
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