Concerning rise in deliberate fires

A significant number of deliberate fires across the county during April has sparked concern for fire officers.

Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service’s firefighters responded to 91 fires that were started deliberately last month, an increase of 34 from the previous month and 48 more than last year. These incidents were spread across various locations, with some specific areas showing considerable activity.

In Huntingdonshire, 19 deliberate fires were reported, with the former RAF Upwood site (five fires) and the open area around Huntingdon Ring Road (four fires) being the key areas of concern.

Soham in East Cambridgeshire had nine separate fires, with four more in other areas of the district.

In Fenland there were 13 fires reported, four of which were located in March.

South Cambridgeshire had seven fires in April, most of which were in Cambourne.

Peterborough accounted for the majority of deliberate fires in April with crews responding to more than 30 different incidents across the city.

Station Commander Pete Jones, the Service’s Arson Liaison Officer, said: “This month has seen a very concerning increase in arson related activity around the county. Seeing the number of fires happening, particularly in areas like Huntingdonshire and East Cambridgeshire, is certainly very alarming.

“Arson is a serious crime and can have severe consequences for those that start a fire, no matter how big or how small it is. Not only this, but any fire presents significant risks for anyone around the area if it gets out of hand, as well as for the fire crews sent to tackle them.

“We work closely with the police and other partner agencies to try and prevent these types of incidents. However it is clear there is more work to do, and we need help from residents across the county. Reporting a fire, whether deliberate or not, is important so our crews can respond quickly and stop it spreading.

“Parents can also help, particularly during school holidays, by speaking with their children and ensuring they know the risks and dangers of fire. Making sure that lighters and matches are kept well out of reach of children, as well as making sure they stay clear of disused or derelict buildings, can also make a big difference.

“There are other precautions people can take to help reduce the risk of a deliberate fire. Keeping rubbish bins out of sight and away from buildings if possible for example, along with installing security lights or cameras, can all be a deterrent. Also ensuring any bulky household rubbish, such as sofas or washing machines, is taken to the local recycling centre and not left in the open”

“With the warm weather fast approaching, it’s really important that we work together with our communities to prevent deliberate fires happening in our county and reporting them if we see any suspicious activity in the area.”