Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

'Within about 15 Minutes the Whole Place Had Gone Up'

Newspaper article Manchester Evening News

'Within about 15 Minutes the Whole Place Had Gone Up'

Article excerpt

A HUGE fire broke out in a supermarket as horrified customers shopped.

In the aftermath of the 'inferno' at Wing Fat in Beswick, firefighters were unable to confirm if all the shoppers had escaped the Gorton Road building safely.

Hundreds of people were forced to leave their homes on Ashton Old Road as the fire cast a plume of toxic smoke over parts of east Manchester.

At this stage it is believed the 15 customers who were inside the Chinese cash and carry fled the building safely as the fire rapidly took hold.

However, firefighters have so far been unable to carry out a thorough search of the still-smouldering building due to its dangerous condition. Images of the charred wreckage, released by the fire service, graphically illustrate the intensity of the heat.

It may be several days before the authorities are able to say for sure that none of the shoppers fell victim to the fire.

But all staff were accounted for and unhurt after the blaze, which has destroyed 90pc of the building.

The cause of the blaze has not yet been established, but it's understood initial reports to the fire service described the roof being on fire.

One member of staff described the fire as a 'raging inferno' to the M.E.N. "I was working inside and heard people shouting there was a fire", he said. "Then all of a sudden it became really hot and we saw smoke so we all ran outside. Within about 15 minutes the whole place had gone up. The flames were big. It was a raging inferno.

"There had been 20 pallets of cooking oil delivered recently so that will have made the fire worse."

Gas canisters were also inside the building at the time of the fire, it's understood.

Motorists and fans heading to Manchester City's League Cup match with Wolves at the Etihad Stadium last night were urged to avoid the area around Gorton Road and Ashton Old Road throughout the day.

Pictures showing grey smoke billowing as far as Ancoats, Gorton and Ardwick were widely shared on social media as locals were advised to keep doors and windows closed.

As the fire raged, Mohammad Naem, a local resident, said: "It smells like plastic. It is that bad I can't see. …

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