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Firefighters are warning that lives could be put at risk following a spate of deliberate fires across Carlisle. Over the past 10 days Cumbria County Council’s Fire and Rescue Service has been called out to tackle several blazes around the city that were started deliberately.
Dealing with small, deliberate fires means firefighters are tied up dealing with needless, avoidable incidents so may not be available to attend more serious emergency situations.
And with these deliberate fires often linked to teenagers and children, parents are being urged to ensure their children don’t have access to lighters and matches and are aware of the potentially fatal consequences of playing with fire.
Craig Drinkald, station manager at Carlisle West Fire Station, said: “Youngsters playing with matches or lighters and setting fire to dried grass and rubbish might think they’re having a bit of harmless fun, but what they’re actually doing is putting their own and other peoples’ lives at risk.
“If we’re having to attend small avoidable fires it means we could be diverted away from more serious situations like road traffic collisions and larger blazes with potentially fatal results.
“Small fires can also spread rapidly, especially during periods of warm, dry weather so starting a small fire can quickly put the person lighting it in extreme danger.
“We work closely with the police where deliberate fires are concerned and will seek to identify and prosecute anybody starting fires of this nature.”
Since the start of the month, rubbish has been deliberately set alight at Harraby Community Centre and in Gillford Park.
Grass has also been ignited at a play area in Broadoaks Grange and a hedge torched on Hollywell Crescent.
Station manager Drinkald added: “We do always see a rise in the number of deliberate fires during the school summer holidays so I’m particularly keen to appeal to parents to help us tackle this serious problem.
“Playing with fire can cost lives and if people remembered that they’d maybe think again before striking that match or igniting that lighter.”
Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service offers a free service to parents who suspect their children are starting fires. Fire service staff can visit people in their homes to provide education and support with the aim of preventing any reoccurrence and highlighting the dangers of playing with fire.
Parents looking to arrange a visit should call Cumbria Fire and Rescue Service on 0800 358 477