THE fire that broke out on Sunday night in a construction site in Gorton is now being investigated as arson.

Police are trying to trace footage from CCTVs and interview local residents and eyewitnesses.

Sean, a local resident, told us the morning after the blaze: “I live on the next street so round the back you could just see the flames. Burning embers floating through the streets. I just assumed it was arson because there’s no gas or electricity in the building, just bricks and insulation.”

credit: James-Elliot Paul Kennerley

The blaze, which commenced at 8.05pm on Sunday, destroyed the three-month old development of a block of new flats in Hyde Road, Gorton.

Police and the fire service were called to the scene after receiving over 40 calls reporting the incident and remained on site all night to ensure the building remained stable.

The entire area was cordoned off and Hyde Road Eastbound was closed on Monday between Kirkmanshulme Lane and Redgate Lane.  

The flames supposedly started from the third floor and burned down the entire building, of which only the scaffolding remains.

On Sunday night local residents were evacuated due to flying debris but were then allowed back to their homes later that night.

Local resident Hilda Dean from Abbotsbury Close said: “I said to my husband, oh what a beautiful red sky, and he went upstairs and said it’s not a red sky – there’s a fire behind us. It just lit up like someone had dropped a bomb. The flames were higher than the roofs.”

The project, carried out by construction company Keepmoat, aimed to regenerate the Gorton area and was  welcomed by the local community.

A Keepmoat spokesman told the M.E.N: “At this stage, the fire is still under investigation and we are working with the authorities to identify the cause.

“Until then, we won’t have a full idea in terms of the impact, but thankfully nobody was harmed and the flats weren’t occupied.”

Investigations are still ongoing and no arrests have currently been made.

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