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Stafford residents urged to be vigilant after deliberate fires

April 16 2019
Stafford Prevent Team Leader Mark Downes with the Prevent Team, volunteers & colleagues from Staffordshire Police

Stafford Prevent Team Leader Mark Downes with the Prevent Team, volunteers & colleagues from Staffordshire Police

Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service are urging Stafford residents to be vigilant after a number of deliberate fires in the area.

We really need people to be extra vigilant and report any suspicious activity. If you see anything unusual you can do this by calling Staffordshire Police anonymously on 101 or Crimestoppers 0800 555 111. If you see a crime in progress always call 999 immediately.

Mark Downes, Prevent Team Leader

The Service’s Prevent team, along with Safe and Well Technicians, volunteers and colleagues from Staffordshire Police have today (Tuesday) been out in the Highfields area providing advice reassurance to the community.

The activity comes after firefighters have responded to numerous arson reports in the past week, with a hat trick of calls three nights in a row. The worst incident involved a house on Surrey Road on Friday night (April 12). A nearby fence was set alight and the fire spread causing damage to the gas supply.

Crews from Stafford and Rising Brook were called at around 10.17pm. They used two hose reel jets and a main jet to tackle the blaze and wore two breathing apparatus. Firefighters remained at the scene until after 1am as the gas supply to the home was damaged and required emergency work to make it safe. The neighbour also had to be evacuated while this work took place, due to the unsafe levels of carbon monoxide which had spread to their home.

Other incidents include one in Silkmore Lane at 9.16pm on Thursday, April 11, which also involved a hedge being set on fire just outside a house and another involving hedging, fencing and conifers in Meadow Road/Virginia Avenue, at 10.50pm on Saturday, April 13.

Mark Downes, Prevent Team Leader, said: “Our Flames Aren’t Games campaign runs during the school holidays, which is when we typically see an increase in deliberate fires.

“However, we’ve already seen a concerning spike in arson incidents in the week leading up to the Easter holidays and this is extremely worrying.

“Thankfully, no one has been harmed during these incidents but people’s safety is being put at risk, along with their homes and belongings.

“Our prevent teams, Safe and Well technicians, crews and volunteers who are trained in fire safety, along with colleagues from Staffordshire Police, have been out in the area to offer advice to residents. We really need people to be extra vigilant and report any suspicious activity. Likewise, if you have any information about the fires that have been started in the past week, please contact the police.”

Chief Inspector Gemma Ward, commander for Stafford borough, said: “There is a grave risk that comes with deliberately setting fires and endangering life and people’s homes and belongings.

“This is an extremely serious offence that carries hefty punishments for offenders.

“We’re putting additional patrols in the area and will listen to any information the community has. Anyone with information about these fires is asked to call 101. Alternatively, call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.”

Parents are urged to speak to their children about the dangers and consequences of setting fires. More information on the Flames Aren’t Games campaign and information of activities during the school holidays can be found on the dedicated webpage here.