More than 100 arsons so far

Councillors are taking a closer look at the circumstances surrounding deliberate fires, such as this one on Cresswell Avenue, Anchorsholme, last September. Below: Coun Amy Cross.
Councillors are taking a closer look at the circumstances surrounding deliberate fires, such as this one on Cresswell Avenue, Anchorsholme, last September. Below: Coun Amy Cross.
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More than 100 deliberate fires have been started in Blackpool so far this year – prompting the launch of a new campaign to tackle the growing arson scourge in the resort.

Dumped rubbish is now being cleared away more quickly in a bid to remove possible fire hazards from the streets.

Coun Amy Cross

Coun Amy Cross

Meanwhile residents are being urged not to fly-tip their waste, which also has the potential to be used to start a blaze.

In 2012, there were 172 fires started deliberately in Blackpool, and this year there have already been 105.

Coun Amy Cross, cabinet member for community safety on Blackpool Council, said: “When we have warm weather coupled with the summer holidays there are often more people out and about and on occasion it can lead to trouble.

“Working closely with the fire service we are trying to reduce the number of avoidable fires in Blackpool. So far the link with our neighbourhood teams is working well.

“When anything is spotted that could potentially lead to a fire they are contacting the team that can remove it. The Probation Service is also assisting with this work.

“Our staff are available seven days a week, so there’s always someone that can be contacted.

“By reducing the opportunity for mischief-making in this way it frees up time for the fire service to deal with real life and death situations which may not be attended to as quickly if they are dealing with a deliberate secondary fire.”

Station manager Gary West of Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service said preventing arson attacks was vital to keep people safe.

He added: “Deliberate firesetting in the resort is most effectively combatted when the Lancashire Fire and Rescue Service and Blackpool Council colleagues work together to prevent arson and identify and prosecute the perpetrators when prevention has not been possible.”

The figures come at a time the fire service is consulting on scrapping one of the two fire engines at Blackpool’s Forest Gate station as part of plans to save £10m by 2016. The fire service says the Fylde coast has a high concentration of fire appliances.

But in The Gazette earlier this week, those whose lives have been affected by fire pleaded with the service not to axe the second appliance.

A similar proposal in 2009 was eventually abandoned.

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