COLUMN: Deliberate fires waste resources, by Leigh Holmes Notts Fire watch manager

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Anybody who lives in the north of the county may be aware that we’ve been doing a fair amount of work recently around deliberate firesetting.

This has, unfortunately, come as a result of a number of fires being started deliberately across north Nottinghamshire across the last 12 months.

These fires have ranged from significant fires that have destroyed entire buildings to minor bin fires. Some of these incidents have tied up numerous resources for hours on end, whilst some may have been dealt with quite quickly.

However, every single one of these deliberately set fires has something in common – they have tied crews up and rendered us potentially unavailable should a more serious, or even life-threatening, incident occur.

As you can appreciate, this turns what might seem like a little bit of fun into something very serious, and very dangerous. This is why we’ve been getting out in our local communities, and working closely with other agencies, to try and raise awareness of the dangers of deliberate fire setting (often referred to as arson because, yes, it is a crime).

We’ve also been trying to encourage local people to remain vigilant when it comes to this sort of behaviour, and report anything suspicious to our Police colleagues on 101.

Something else we have been doing is urging people to be mindful when it comes to leaving wheelie bins out.

It may seem trivial, but wheelie bins on the pavement – especially those that are full of combustible material such as paper – are potentially a prime target for an arsonist.

If these bins are located close to a building, there is also the potential that the fire could spread and again turn what seems like a bit of a ‘laugh’ into a very serious fire.

In 2016 there were 68 wheelie bin fires in north Nottinghamshire. As usual we are working hard to try and reduce this number, however every little helps and just by ensuring bins are only put out on collection days, and taken in fairly soon after, people can play their part in limiting opportunities for arsonists.

As a final note, if anybody does have any information regarding deliberate firesetting then I would urge them to contact either the police on 101, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.