Probe launched over huge increase in deliberate fires in Boldon
According to the latest figures from Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS), there were 14 ‘deliberate fires’ reported in Boldon Colliery in September – up from just one in the same month last year (2018).
The recent increase saw a van set alight, as well as rubbish and grassland, and has prompted firefighters to speak to teenagers in the area about the danger and impact blazes can have.
“We know exactly where these fires start and what time, the difficult thing for the fire service is finding out who set them, but if we’ve seen a spike we can look at ways of preventing that,” said Trevor Sturrock, station manager for Hebburn and South Shields Fire Stations.
Station Manager Sturrock was speaking at a meeting of the Jarrow and Hebburn Community Area Forum (CAF), where he revealed firefighters would be at Boldon School next week to speak to 14 to 16-year-olds.
“We’re not saying any children from that school are setting fires, but they may have some information,” he added.
“The reason we’re going to Boldon first is because we’ve had a spike [in the number of deliberate fires].
“Our experience is it tends to be older teenagers, if we look at the times [of the fires] these children are possibly staying out a bit later, which would take me away from thinking they’re 11 or 12.”
Coun Alison Strike said she thought younger pupils at the school, ‘from about year eight and possibly year seven’ should also be spoken to.
Station manager Sturrock said all pupils were spoken to regularly across the borough, but he hoped influencing older students could have a knock-on impact on younger ones.
“We will work with any service to help the community,” said Ian Noble, headteacher at Boldon School.
“When they [the firefighters] come into the school to the usual assemblies they can speak to any students, anytime there’s an issue around young people we’re happy to have any support service come in.
“We’re really keen to support the community and if anyone comes to the school with intelligence we can work with them as a team.”