Hoax call ‘could have seen a repeat of five-year-old’s death’

Jason Walsh, who died after a house fire in 1996
Jason Walsh, who died after a house fire in 1996
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A hoax caller who falsely reported a strong smell of gas – sparking an urgent response from the fire service – could have ‘cost lives’, it was claimed this morning.

Firefighters from Blackpool and South Shore fire stations were called to Station Road shortly after 11pm yesterday after somebody dialled 999 and reported the smell coming from a nearby property.

But when crews got there, they radioed back to headquarters to say there had been no leak at all.

A Lancashire Fire and Rescue service spokesman said the incident could easily have seen a repeat of Jason Walsh’s death in 1996.

The five-year-old died two weeks after being pulled from his burning house by backup crews – with the main crew out on a hoax.

“It does not get any worse than that, but it does illustrate what can happen,” he said. “Lives can be lost. It’s not a boy crying wolf.”