Derry experienced over 1, 000 arson attacks in 2010, a rate of over three per day the ‘Journal’ can exclusively reveal.
In figures released to this paper by the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service, it has been revealed that appliances from the Northland Road Station attended 680 deliberate fires and Crescent Link crews, 345 in 2010, a total of 1025.
Arson attacks are estimated to have cost the Fire Brigade in the region of £2.5 million as the average cost per mobilisation to each call out is £2, 521. Considering the Fire Service, as is every public service having to operate within reduced budgets, the figure will no doubt cause alarm.
The amount of £2, 521 also incorporates some day-to-day running costs such as firefighter’s salaries, which would be paid.
The total number of 1025 deliberate fires attended, included both deliberate ‘primary fires,’ buildings etc and deliberate ‘secondary fires’ such as gorse, wildland, rubbish and cars fires.
Commenting on the statistics, Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service, temporary District Commander, Jonathan Tate, said: “Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service works in the community and with young people through our youth engagement programmes and initiatives in schools and in the community to address the problem of deliberate fire setting and other types of other anti-social behaviour.
“We would appeal to the public not to start deliberate fires as they are dangerous and waste valuable emergency services time and cause a huge amount of disruption and distress to victims. Everyone can play their part to help reduce deliberate fire setting in their own community.”
Temporary District Commander, Jonathan Tate, offered this advice to help reduce the number of deliberate fires.
“Parents should talk to their children about the consequences of deliberate fire setting and know where they are and who they are with.
“Matches and lighters should be kept out of access of young people; Don’t leave rubbish/vegetation/garden cuttings lying around; dispose of it properly and put bins out on the morning of collection not the night before; Report any unsecure empty properties to the Housing Executive; Report anti-social behaviour or suspicious behaviour to the police and report abandoned cars to the Police or Derry City council to that they may be removed.”