MORE than a third of people living in Wharfside apartments in Lancashire have been told they have lost their home following the major blaze.
Residents in 120 flats, off Heritage Way, near Wigan Pier, were awoken by the fire alarm sounding in the early hours of the morning on Sunday and were immediately evacuated.
But many residents are in limbo about where they will live for the foreseeable future, as one part of the building has been condemned. It is thought about a third have lost their homes.
Firefighters have told residents that those living on the left hand side (view from the car park) can collect their belongings and people can retrieve their cars.
As many of the occupants were students from the performing arts group, ALRA, they organised for The Mill at the Pier, which is next door to the flats, to be opened as a rescue centre.
A Salvation Army van was camped outside, proving refreshments and hot food and Tesco delivered supplies.
Peter O’Reilly, chief fire officer at Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, hinted he hoped occupants in the unaffected part of the apartment block could return tonight, but that is looking increasingly unlikely.
He added: “The part near the source has been destroyed. We don’t know what the future holds for that part of the building. That decision could take up to a week as Wigan Council’s building control works out what to do.”
Wigan Council is currently working with residents to seek alternative accommodation.
Distraught Laura Wilson-Jones, 26, whose flat was very near the source, has lost her flat. She said: “The alarm woke me up and I went onto the hallway and saw the light of the fire at the top of the stairs. I realised I had to get out and I put some clothes on, grabbed my phone and went out. I saw how bad the fire was from outside. My flat was very close to the fire so it has completely collapsed. Everything was in that flat - I have lost everything. I will have to star all over again.”
Anyone who needs advice can call Wigan Council’s housing officer 07766422070.