A huge fire that ripped through a storage warehouse in Stockport is now being treated as having been started deliberately.
It comes as bosses at the facility reveal there has been ‘significant destruction of the building and most contents.’
The fire broke out at the Armadillo Self Storage Unit on Earl Road in Cheadle at around 1 am in the early hours of this morning (Saturday).
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Crews were greeted by a ‘significant’ and ‘well established’ fire and its height around 20 fire engines and 130 firefighters were involved in the operation to tackle the flames, which sent plumes of thick black smoke billowing over Cheadle and Handforth.
Two major roads, the A555 Manchester Airport Eastern Link Road and A34 Handforth Bypass were both closed as a result.
They have since re-opened but Stanley Road, Wilmslow Road, and Earl Road remain closed.
The response was scaled back later this morning, with Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) saying the fire has now been brought under control.
However, around 10 fire engines remain in attendance, and crews are expected to remain the scene for several hours yet.
A joint police and fire service investigation into the blaze is now underway.
And it is believed it may have been started deliberately, Greater Manchester Police (GMP) said this afternoon.
“Police were called around 1.40am on Saturday 26 February 2022 to commercial premises on Earl Road, Cheadle Hulme to a report of a fire” the force said in a statement.
“Emergency services are currently in attendance.
“Detectives are now treating the fire as a deliberate ignition and an investigation is underway.
“Anyone with information should contact police on 0161 856 9790 or 101 quoting incident 292 of 02/26/22. Alternatively, details can be passed via our LiveChat at www.gmp.police.uk or via the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 .”
No one is believed to be inside the building Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service said, but a spokesperson said crews had not yet been unable to carry out a thorough search due to the ferocity of the fire.
the Big Yellow Family Self-Storage group, of which Armadillo is a part, said no staff members were on-site at that time and that they were “not aware of any customers on-site.”
However, they said there had been ‘significant’ damage to the building and ‘most of its contents’ and apologized to customers over the ‘distressing’ incident.
“We can confirm there has been a fire at Armadillo Self Storage on Earl Road in Cheadle which started around 1am this morning,” they said.
“There were no staff members on site at that time and we are not aware of any customers on-site.
“The store is closed while Greater Manchester Fire & Rescue and the Police continue to deal with the incident.
“We are very grateful for the efforts of all the emergency services.
“At this stage, the cause of the fire is not known but we now understand there has been significant destruction to the building and most contents.
“We will provide updates once we know more.
“Customers should not attempt to visit the store.
“We sincerely apologize to all customers affected and will be contacting them directly with regular updates as soon as we can.
“We know this will be a difficult time for all our customers and that some of the possessions stored with us can never be replaced, which is why we are so distressed this incident occurred.
“We will work with insurers to manage our customers’ contents claims as quickly as possible.”
GMFRS said: “We have reduced the number of fire engines at the incident and there are now 10 fire engines and a number of special appliances in attendance.
“Crews were met with a well-developed fire when they arrived at the scene earlier this morning and firefighters have made steady progress throughout the night and this morning.
“Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service have the fire under control and crews remain in attendance working to fully extinguish it.”
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.