Arsonists warning

THE fire service is warning about the dangers of grass and rubbish fires after two deliberate blazes in the area.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 29th August 2011, 1:30 pm

Notts Fire and Rescue Service were called out to deliberate fires on Friday evening and Sunday afternoon.

Around 1,000 sq metres of grass and undergrowth was destroyed at the former Manton Pit site, just off the A57, on Friday 19th August.

Crews from Worksop and Retford spent around two hours extinguishing the blaze, which began shortly after 6pm.

On Sunday afternoon, firefighters from Worksop were called out again to extinguish a rubbish fire in the woods near Crossley Hill Lane.

Investigators believe that both fires were started deliberately.

A Notts Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said more than half of all fires in Notts are believed to have been started deliberately.

“Fires in cars, wheelie bins, on grass and in woodland are often the result of a deliberate act and, in some cases, the results are disastrous,” he said.

“A fire started as a prank in a bin or shrubbery can quickly spread to nearby fences, hedges, cars or even property.”

“This kind of activity not only puts the perpetrators themselves at risk, but can also endanger people living nearby and the firefighters who are called to deal with the incident.”

“It also means that while fire crews are responding to deliberate fires or false alarms, they may be unavailable to attend genuine, and possibly life-threatening, emergency calls, putting other members of the community at risk too.”

“Fires in the countryside, or on any area of grass or waste land, can be started either accidentally or deliberately – but the result can be equally devastating.”

“Hot dry weather with little or no rainfall makes vegetation bone dry, and this can make fires ignite and spread extremely quickly.”

“Often people don’t realise just how fast a fire can take hold, or how dangerous it can be.”

“A fast-moving fire can destroy acres of countryside, crops or wildlife and can change direction suddenly, cutting off a safe escape route for anyone who happens to be nearby. Windy conditions can make things even worse.”

“We know that, on the whole, deliberate fire-setting is caused by a small minority of people in specific areas.”

“A number of fire-setters and those causing criminal damage are already known to the police and, as a service, we work closely with the police and local councils to identify these people and deal with them through the courts.”

“But often this kind of fire-setting is as a result of boredom, or what appears to be a ‘bit of a laugh’ and, as a community, there are things we can all do to help.”

He advised people never to leave rubbish lying around, either through fly-tipping or by overfilling bins. Homeowners should make sure their bin in stored out of site where possible and not left out for longer than necessary before or after it is emptied.

Sheds, garages and outbuildings should be kept locked and owners of empty or derelict buildings should ensure they are properly secured to prevent unauthorised access.

The spokesman said that summer holidays are often a problem when children get bored.

“When boredom sets in, it’s tempting for children to go in search of their own fun and, unfortunately for the fire and rescue service, this can mean playing with fire,” he said.

“Parents should explain to children the dangers of playing with, and the lighting of, fires and make sure they are aware that what starts out as a bit of fun can have devastating consequences.”

People should not try to tackle a fire themselves unless it is very small and they can do so safely.

Fires in rural areas are often difficult to locate so people should provide as much detail to the fire service as possible so that crews can locate it quickly and easily, added the spokesman.