Fears over number of arson cases

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FIREFIGHTERS in Doncaster have dealt with more than a dozen arson attacks in two days.

The incidents have come during the school holidays – traditionally a busy time for firefighters in the county.

Crews have attended incidents from corn fields being ignited to derelict buildings set alight and deliberate rubbish fires.

Fire chiefs say the attacks put lives at risk because they divert resources from other incidents across South Yorkshire.

In Doncaster crews were sent to deal with corn or grass fires in Crossfield Lane, Skellow; Ravenswood Drive, Auckley; Ullswater Road, Mexborough and Churchfield Road, Clayton.

Fires at derelict buildings in Moor Lane, Kirk Sandall and Heathersett Way, Rossington, also had to be put out.

Meanwhile, rubbish fires were reported in St Sepulchre Gate West, Doncaster; Burton Avenue, Balby; Blackthorne Close, Edlington; Sprotbrough Road; Bolton Street, Denaby and Eden Grove Road, Edenthorpe.

South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service’s head of community safety, Steve Makepeace, said: “Arson has fallen massively in recent years, thanks to our targeted education and prevention work. But we still attend around 5,000 deliberately started fires every year, with a massive cost to us and the taxpayer in South Yorkshire.

“We’d much rather be putting those resources into reducing deaths and serious injuries in accidental fires and on the roads.

“People maliciously starting fires can have no appreciation of the potential consequences of their actions. We’ve had tragedies before in South Yorkshire where people have died, either as a result of a small fire getting out of control, or because our fire engines were busy elsewhere dealing with one of these incidents.

“The public must help by reporting arsonists to the police, storing rubbish and bins securely and reporting potential arson to us online.

We’d also ask parents to look out for the tell-tale signs of fire setting – these include small burns around the home, matches or lighters going missing or an unusual fascination with fire.”