Man fell through roof after fire at disused pottery factory
A 21-YEAR-OLD who stopped at the scene of a factory fire had to be taken to hospital after falling through its roof.
The man and two friends were reportedly on the way home from a night out when they spotted smoke coming from the former John Tams factory in Longton.
Emergency services were alerted to the arson attack by the trio around 2.55am yesterday.
The 21-year-old is said to have fallen through a skylight in a one-storey part of the building after the group climbed up a fire escape to see if anyone was inside the property. He had to be rescued by firefighters.
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A spokesman for West Midlands Ambulance Service said: "When we arrived, we found three men all believed to be in their late teens or early 20s.
"One had reportedly fallen through the roof of the factory.
"From what we were told, they had seen the fire and gone to help.
"We treated one patient for an injury to his lower back.
"He walked out of the factory but once outside, he was immobilised using a spinal board."
The man was taken to the University Hospital of North Staffordshire.
Both of the other men were taken to the same hospital. One suffered a "very minor" injury and the other had no signs of injury, but both were sent for further assessment.
Two fires had been started on the first floor of the factory on The Strand.
An investigation has found they were started deliberately.
The incident is now being investigated by the police.
Crew commander Ivan Fenton, from Longton fire station, said: "On arrival, there was smoke issuing from the first floor of the two-storey property.
"We had to rescue a gentleman who was driving past with two friends when the fire started and thought he would check it out.
"The fire was in two offices on the first floor, where a large quantity of paper had been set alight.
"The property was completely smoke-logged on the first and second floors, with fire damage contained to the two offices."
Around 25 firefighters from Longton, Hanley and Newcastle were at the scene. The last crew left just before 4.40am.
Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service has issued an appeal to those who discover a fire not to put themselves in danger, to call 999 and wait in a safe place. No one else was found inside the building.
Station manager Garry Goodwin, pictured, added: "Starting fires deliberately is an incredibly dangerous thing to do; it endangers lives and ties up emergency resources."
A spokesman for Staffordshire Police said: "We are aware of the incident and are investigating the circumstances.
"We appeal for anyone with any information to contact us."
Witnesses should ring the new police non-emergency number 101 quoting incident number 42 of January 4 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.