Chorley care complex fire 'suspicious' - but 'not as bad as it looked'

The damage caused by a fire at an under-construction community hub and care facility in Chorley was minimal – in spite of the huge plumes of smoke it created.

Wednesday, 29th September 2021, 10:20 pm
Fire broke out at the former Stagecoach bus depot on Eaves Lane in Chorley on Sunday afternoon (26th September)

The blaze – which broke out at around 3pm on Sunday on the site of what used to be the Stagecoach bus depot on Eaves Lane – is being treated as suspicious and is thought to have been started by trespassers.

The area around the Tatton recreation ground is currently being redeveloped to create an “extra care” apartment block.

Smoke billowed out of what will eventually be a 62-bedroom building providing supported living for older residents. The development – to be called Tatton Gardens – will also house a community centre and nursery – replacing existing facilities – along with a GP surgery, pharmacy, café and hair salon.

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Ex-Chorley bus depot to make way for care and community development

Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service, which brought the blaze under control within about half an hour of arriving at the scene, says the fire is believed to be of “suspicious origin”, although an investigation is continuing.

A meeting of Chorley Council heard that the incident would not cause the delivery of the authority-run scheme to be delayed, with council leader Alistair Bradley describing it as a “minor fire” which was “not quite as bad as it looked”.

He added that the council would not be bearing any of the additional costs resulting from it and that the contractor building the facility had been asked to increase security and reminded of their “responsibility to the residents in that area”.

In a statement issued after the meeting, Cllr Bradley said: “From the fire service’s assessment, it looks like it was started by a trespasser on site putting a cigarette butt in a bucket of tar, which caused the huge plumes of smoke.

“We will be reviewing our security arrangements, but we can’t stress enough the dangers of people trespassing on construction sites. This could have been far more serious and people are putting their own lives in danger entering sites like this.

“Thankfully, the damage does appear to be minimal and there won’t be much impact on the construction work.”

The scheme secured £5.5m from the government’s Getting Building Fund last summer, after the council identified it as one of the “shovel-ready” projects that could help kickstart the economy in the wake of the pandemic.