A PENSIONER needed hospital treatment after a triple vehicle fire nearly burned down his bungalow.

Mr Ray Booth, aged 86, suffered burns to his arms during the blaze at his Parkstone Avenue home in Whitefield yesterday afternoon.

The drama was sparked when a motorbike that Mr Booth had started up in his garage set on fire.

While he went to fetch a fire extinguisher, the fire spread to a second motorbike and onto a car on the drive.

The flames then engulfed the garage and the roof cavity of the detached property, causing extensive damage.

A resident said: "I was in my kitchen and I heard a loud bang and saw some smoke. I thought it was in Park Lane at first, I didn't realise it was next door for a couple of minutes.

"The fire was pretty bad by the time I got round. I rang 999 but someone had already called.

"I don't know how long the fire brigade took to come but they they would have struggled to save anything if they had taken longer than a few minutes.

"Smoke started coming out of the roof tiles, which have just been painted so you could see them changing colour.

"I was hoping it was only smoke but it appears that the fire got in there as well.

"The garage was full of things like paint and a lot of inflammable liquids, because he he did things like motorbike restoration. 

"Everybody was out in the street from all the way down the road. The couple have been in the street for a long time and they are very well known."

A crew and three engines from Whitefield Fire Station arrived at the scene at 2.30pm on Tuesday.

The fire service spent almost five hours at the scene, extinguishing the fire, damping down and putting salvage sheets on the roof.

Watch manager Mr Tony Wellock said: “We also needed to get the Enhanced Rescue Unit from Leigh to shore up a wall that was in danger of collapsing.”

Following the blaze, Mr Booth was taken to hospital and his wife was forced to stay with relatives due to water damage and the power being turned off.

A dog belonging to the Booth’s daughter, and which they had been looking after, escaped unscathed.