Officers recover human remains suggesting at least two victims in mill fire

Human remains indicating at least two victims have been found in a mill following a fire more than two months ago, police said.

Specialist officers from Greater Manchester Police have started a search at Bismark House Mill in Oldham after remains were first discovered by wreckers on Saturday.

The force said it received a report last Thursday that four Vietnamese nationals were missing and may have been involved in a fire.

On Wednesday, a spokesperson for the force said the search at the Bower Street site, where emergency crews were called to a fire on May 7, indicated there were two victims.

Detective Superintendent Lewis Hughes said: ‘We are carrying out a thorough search of the remains of the mill to ensure any other human remains are recovered in a manner that is respectful to both the deceased and those bereaved.

“Meanwhile, our Major Incidents Team continues to liaise with partner agencies to ensure potential family members in Vietnam are fully informed and supported.

“Although we have now recovered human remains to suggest that at least two people were in the mill during the fire, we remain aware of the report we received on Thursday July 21 that four Vietnamese nationals were carried missing and may have been involved in a fire.

“Along with search and recovery efforts, extensive investigations are being carried out to establish all the circumstances surrounding the fire. Any criminal offenses identified in this context will be dealt with immediately and appropriately.

At the time of the fire, which was extinguished in four days, no one was inside the building, police said.

The Bismark House Mill fire in Oldham (Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service/PA)

(PA Media)

The incident was referred to the Force Professional Standards Branch for review due to previous contact regarding the fire and missing persons.

Earlier this week, Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service deputy fire chief Leon Parkes said firefighters followed the correct procedures when it was decided not to enter the plant, due to concerns about fire and the structural stability of the building.

But, he said there would be a review of the incident and how it was handled.

He said the site was a multi-occupancy warehouse used by a number of businesses and was thought to be locked up and closed when the fire broke out in the early hours of the morning.

Police have asked anyone concerned about the disappearance of a loved one or with information about the circumstances surrounding the fire, including activity on the premises prior to May 7, to contact the Major Incident Room at 0800 051 4675, for UK callers, or (+44) 0207 459 4500, for international calls.

Information can also be submitted via the public Major Incident Portal at or anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.