Sheffield Ski Village arson attacks taking vital fire resources

Sheffield Ski Village
Sheffield Ski Village
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A total of 86 fire engines have been sent to 55 fires at Sheffield’s former Ski Village site in five years, new figures reveal.

South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue has warned arsonists that fires at the abandoned leisure site could put members of the public at risk, because fire crews could be dealing with genuine emergencies instead.

Burnt out... nothing left of the Sheffield Ski Village destroyed after a fire

Burnt out... nothing left of the Sheffield Ski Village destroyed after a fire

The Ski Village opened in Parkwood Springs in 1988, but closed after a major blaze, thought to have been started deliberately, in 2012.

Just this week, fire crews were called to the site to deal with yet another arson attack, when a pile of tyres was set alight.

But the site had been made subject to arson attacks even before it closed. In 2011, fire crews were called out eight times.

In 2012, the fire which ultimately closed the site, eight fire engines battled a blaze, on April 29. But there was another fire just days later, with two engines called out on May 1, and another fire two days after that, when two units were called out on May 3.

Fire officer damp down a fire at the abandoned Ski Village in Sheffield after vandals broke in again

Fire officer damp down a fire at the abandoned Ski Village in Sheffield after vandals broke in again

Two days after that, another two engines were called out on May 5, making four fires in eight days.

The most fires occurred in 2014, when there were 17 incidents - five of which happened in June that year.

The continued blazes at the site come despite attempts to get new development green-lit.

A group called Snowsport For Sheffield was set up in March 2014, with the intention of putting a new Olympic standard multi-sport facility on the site.

Alan Bister, Snowsport for Sheffield chairman, said that plans for development are still on, but that it will take ‘a significant amount of work’ as well as private investment.

He said: “It’s a very difficult site to secure.

“I don’t think there’s an easy solution to arson attacks other than putting development on it, so it will be occupied and will then be secured, but that’s still a long way off at the moment.

“It’s going to require a significant amount of work.

Sheffield's Ski Village in the glory days, pictured in 2005

Sheffield's Ski Village in the glory days, pictured in 2005

“It’s not just down to the council, it’s going to need private investment as well.

“It’s potentially still on but at the moment it’s a long way off.”

A spokesman for South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service said: “We are continuing to work with partners at the council and police to try to minimise the number of incidents at the ski village site.

“We treat all acts of arson extremely seriously and are working with South Yorkshire Police to identify those responsible and to prevent further instances occurring.

“Incidents such as these take up a large amount of our resources when they could be needed at genuine life-threatening emergencies.”

A fire at the former Sheffield Ski Village site. Photo: Christopher Emsley.

A fire at the former Sheffield Ski Village site. Photo: Christopher Emsley.

A fire at the former Sheffield Ski Village site. Photo: Christopher Emsley.

A fire at the former Sheffield Ski Village site. Photo: Christopher Emsley.