Arson attacks and accidental fires fall in Sunderland

Tom Capeling, Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue's Chief Fire Officer

Tom Capeling, Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue's Chief Fire Officer

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THE number of fires across Wearside has dropped in the past year, according to new figures.

A report released by Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service showed that crews attended 2,476 blazes in Sunderland in 2011 to 2012, 84 fewer than in the previous 12 months, with arson attacks falling from 2,059 to 2,005.

Property fires fell from 544 to 528, accidental house fires from 161 to 151 and hoax calls from 84 to 59.

Tom Capeling, chief fire officer with the service, said: “These impressive figures are due to a lot of hard work by our dedicated staff through their prevention and education activities with partners and the public.”

However, injuries from accidental dwelling fires rose from 43 to 54 and Sunderland recorded the only two deaths from accidental house blazes.

“Two deaths from accidental house fires are still too many, even though the number of serious injuries from accidental property fires is lower than the previous year,” said Mr Capeling.

“We cannot afford to be complacent and will continue our efforts to drive these figures down even further in the future.”

Across Tyne and Wear, it was the first time that fewer than 2,000 property fires had been attended by the fire brigade in a year.

There was also a 12 per cent reduction in accidental house fires the brigade was called out to, the first time that fewer than 600 had been attended in a year.

The number of people injured in accidental house fires increased by three to 185 this year, but the number of people who went to hospital with severe injuries fell from 10 to five.

There was a one per cent reduction in deliberate fires.

Mr Capeling said a five per cent drop in hoax calls was down to the hard work of control room operators who challenge callers who they think are making malicious calls.

“There can be no doubt that improving on such high standards and continuing the downward trends is no easy task, especially given the financial constraints placed upon us,” said Mr Capeling.

“But I am confident that the committed and excellent people we have here will continue to give their all to ensure we do the best job possible to give our communities the quality of service they expect and deserve.”

Twitter: @SunderlandEcho