Arsonists blamed for fires

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FOUR large fires were started in countryside around South Yorkshire, each requiring more than a dozen firefighters.

This comes less than a week after senior fire officers warned the amount of time they are having to spend on arson incidents is putting lives at risk.

Three fire engines – each crewed by four to five firefighters – were sent to incidents at Engine Lane in Grimethorpe, Wharncliffe Woods, Droppingwell Road at Blackburn and Tankersley, on Sunday and overnight into Monday.

South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue revealed last week that it has been dealing with up to 30 arson attacks each day.

Over the past two years, there have been 1,937 arson attacks on vehicles and 432 on property, which have cost the service £2.6 million to tackle.

Steve Makepeace, a senior officer with South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue, said: “They may only be small fires but if they are reported and an appliance responds, firefighters are committed to that incident. If there is then a house fire, just two minutes away, another appliance has to be sent – and that delay can put lives at risk.”

Less than a decade ago, such a delay cost Sheffield teenager Anneka Parsisson her life in a house fire. Her home, at Malin Bridge, was just 60 seconds from Malin Bridge fire station but the crew based there was out dealing with an arson attack at allotments.