Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service

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MFRS urges people to “think twice” before setting deliberate fires and attacking firefighters

MFRS urges people to “think twice” before setting deliberate fires and attacking firefighters

Thursday, 25 October 2018

Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service (MFRS) is calling on people to “think twice” before putting their community at risk over the Bonfire period.

Each year over the Bonfire period, MFRS is called out to a large amount of wheelie bin fires, bonfires and other deliberately-set fires. In 2017, MFRS was called out to 392 secondary fires. This uses up valuable and limited resources and takes crews away from responding to more serious and possibly life threatening incidents.

Michael Buratti, Arson Team Manager for MFRS, said: “Deliberately started fires on the run up to bonfire night are a huge drain on already overstretched Fire Service resources. What may seem like a bit of harmless fun to some can have life changing consequences and puts entire communities at risk.

“If firefighters are responding to a wheelie bin fire or illegal bonfire, it prevents them from responding to another incident – they cannot be in two places at once. Attending such fires may delay our response to a life threatening incident.

“We would urge people on the run-up to bonfire night to report any build-up of combustible materials that could be used for deliberate fires by calling 0800 731 5958 or via our Facebook and Twitter pages.”

As well as dealing with secondary fires, MFRS crews also see an increase in the number of attacks as they respond to incidents, particularly over the Halloween and bonfire period.

Already this year, fire crews have been subjected to physical and verbal attacks whilst carrying out their duty. This kind of behaviour will not be tolerated. All fire engines carry CCTV cameras and footage will be passed on to Merseyside Police.

Michael added: “Previous years have seen objects, including bricks and fireworks, thrown at fire engines as crews respond to bonfire-related incidents. Such actions can result in that engine being taken out of service for the rest of the night, meaning it cannot respond to emergencies. Please think twice and remember, actions have consequences.”

MFRS is urging parents to have discussions with their children before they go out over the Halloween and bonfire period about what is acceptable behaviour.

Colin Matthews, Chair of Crimestoppers Merseyside, added: “Everyone wants to enjoy the bonfire season is safety. Sadly, a minority spoil it for others by starting fires without any thought to the consequences, or by deliberately attacking fire crews.

“If you have any information about people involved in this type of anti social behaviour which, every year, causes serious injury or damage, then tell us what you know, anonymously and in confidence.

“Speak up, stay safe and make your community safer by contacting Crimestoppers, either on 0800 555 111 or by reporting online at”

For fire safety advice call Merseyside & Rescue Service on 0800 731 5958. If it is outside office hours, please leave a message with your details and a contact number 0800 731 5958.

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