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Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service - Preventing, Protecting, Responding

Teen supports Service's Flames Aren't Games Campaign

21/08/2017

A former fire starter is now supporting Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service’s Flame’s Aren’t Games campaign and has filmed a short video to share his story.

Josh is enrolled in the Prince’s Trust scheme with the Service and has shared his experience of starting fires in the past.

“We urge young people to listen to Josh’s story and think twice before lighting fires and for parents to share the video with their children and help by educating them about the dangers of these fires.” - Prince’s Trust Program Manager James Hettihewa-Young

Josh once started a fire in a derelict building with his friends one weekend and said he had never planned to start the fire but was bored and set the curtains alight. The fire spread throughout the building and the Service were called in to tackle the blaze.

The 17-year-old was arrested and during the video he speaks of his experience with the police and the impact his criminal record now has on his future prospects.

When asked about how his criminal record is affecting him, Josh said: “It’s been difficult cause it’s on my record. Every time I apply for a job… it’s just not going to happen, it gives a bad impression of me.”

Prince’s Trust Program Manager James Hettihewa-Young said: “We are really glad that Josh has chosen to share his experiences and support our campaign. Hopefully he will stand as an example of what can happen when you start a fire on purpose and will deter other young people from doing the same.

“Since beginning his course with the Prince’s Trust Josh has really started to turn his life around. He’s making such great progress, responding to the course with enthusiasm and we’re already seeing a really positive change in him. We hope this second chance will help him get back on track and lead him to a fulfilling future.

“Josh’s story is sadly not a rare one and we are seeing more and more of these sorts of fires being started deliberately by young people, who then get in trouble with the police which affects their chances of getting a job in the future.

“We urge young people to listen to Josh’s story and think twice before lighting fires and for parents to share the video with their children and help by educating them about the dangers of these fires.”

 

Ends

Media note: Josh wishes to remain anonymous and in not available for any media interviews.

The video can be embedded using the following code: <iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/vlTqof-oDoA" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>