Residents help fire crews tackle hay bale blaze on Cleadon Hills

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South Tyneside residents came to the aid of the fire service last night when crews were called to a ‘malicious’ blaze on Cleadon Hills.

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service crews from South Shields were called to reports of hay bales on fire around 7.50pm after members of the public phoned to say they had seen them set alight by youths.

Two engines arrived on scene to find that helpful members of the public had moved around three bales that were in-between those on fire, to stop the blaze from spreading across the hills.

South Shields fire station watch manager Ed Cooper praised the public’s actions and thanked them for helping to prevent the blaze from spreading.

He said: “It could have been a big job but it wasn’t thanks to the quick actions of members of the public.

“When we arrived two hay bales out of around 50 on the hills were on fire and members of the public had moved around three or four bales in-between out of the way to stop the fire from spreading.

“With fires like this we are normally there all night, but we had managed to get it under control within and hour.”

Crews used hose reel jets to put out the fire which they are treating as malicious after residents reported seeing youths set the bales alight.

The fire has been reported to the police for investigation.

Crews left the scene around 9pm.