Bonfire Night 2019 - Merseyside firefighters called to nearly 40% fewer deliberate fires than last year

Firefighters attended nearly 40% fewer deliberately set fires across Merseyside on Bonfire Night, Tuesday 5th November, than on the same date last year.

Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service (MFRS) attended 35 deliberately set ASB (anti-social behaviour fires – this includes bonfires, wheelie bin and rubbish fires – between 00:00 hours and 23.59 hours on Bonfire Night, as opposed to 58 on November 5th 2018.

Liverpool saw the highest number of deliberately set fires, with fire crews attending 21 deliberate fires, although this was down from 26 in 2018.

Sefton saw the largest decrease, from 14 deliberately set fires in 2018 down to just two in 2019, with Wirral seeing the next largest reduction – from 13 down to five. There was, however, an increase in Knowsley (from two incidents last year to three in 2019) and in St Helens (from three incidents in 2018 to four this year).

MFRS also attended over 17% less potentially dangerous bonfires. Firefighters attended 19 potentially dangerous bonfires on November 5th 2019, compared to 23 in 2018.

Liverpool and Wirral saw the highest number of such bonfires – with fire crews attending 12 in Liverpool and three in Wirral, with one in Knowsley and Sefton and St Helens both recording one.

Throughout the whole bonfire period so far (19th October – 5th November), firefighters have attended 207 deliberately set fires, down 37.1% from last year when they attended 329.
Crews also attended seven incidents to related to fireworks – up from four last year.

In total, fire control received 279 emergency 999 calls on November 5th in 2019, down from 2018’s figure of 417.

Station Manager Lauren Woodward, Arson & Incident Investigation, said: ““We are pleased that the vast majority of people across Merseyside enjoyed a safe Bonfire Night.

“Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service received a large volume of calls, with our Control staff doing a fantastic job of handling them. Our Arson Team also spent the night in the community ensuring that members of the public were kept as safe as possible.

“On November 5, we take a tolerant view of bonfires - if they are in the open, supervised by adults and under control we do not extinguish them. Those we attended and put out yesterday - those included in our statistics - were all considered to be dangerous.

“The bonfire period is always extremely busy for us as a Service, though extensive advance planning and partnership work with Merseyside Police, local authorities, registered housing providers and other community partners.

“In recent weeks, firefighters and the prevention team have been out in communities clearing away hazardous rubbish and fly-tipping, which could have been used as fuel for fires, and promoting the safe storage of wheelie bins to help prevent them becoming targets for arson.

“We are thankful to our communities for taking on board our safety messages and advice.”

As we move into winter, Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service urges everyone to make sure they have at least one working smoke alarm on every level of their home and to ensure it is tested regularly.

For free fire safety advice or to request a home fire safety check, call 0800 731 5958.

Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service also provides free smoke alarms for Merseyside residents aged 65 or over.