Park fires putting ‘lives at risk’

Fire damage at Hetton Lyons Park.
Fire damage at Hetton Lyons Park.

Emergency services say lives are being put at risk by youngsters starting fires in a popular park.

The warning, from both Northumbria Police and Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, comes as the number of call outs to Hetton Lyons Park has increased in the past few weeks.

Fire damage at Hetton Lyons Park.

Fire damage at Hetton Lyons Park.

Youngsters are said to be setting fire to grassed areas and creating bonfires within the wooded area of the park.

Firefighters are now appealing to parents to highlight to their offspring to the dangers of playing with fire and the risks they are taking not just to their own lives, but the lives of others.

Watchmanager at Rainton Bridge James Ferguson said: “A lot of damage has been caused to the park through these fires.

“However, it is not just damage which is being caused which is of concern, it is the lives these people are putting at risk.

“Grass fires tie up essential resources and while we are there putting out that fire, we are not available if there is a genuine emergency elsewhere.

“There have been times when we have been putting one fire out in the park and they have been starting another one in another area of the park.”

“I’d ask parents to speak to their children about the dangers of starting grass fires and playing with fires, as it’s not just their own lives they are risking but the lives of residents.”

Information has been passed to police who have been made aware of the issue.

Inspector Vicky Quinn said: “We’ve received a number of reports about fires being deliberately started in Hetton Lyons Park and are working to identify those individuals involved.

“The actions of those responsible are putting lives at risk and will not be tolerated.

“This kind of anti-social behaviour can have a detrimental effect on the quality of life for many residents but we are working with the fire service to make sure our communities remain safe places for everyone to enjoy.

“Officers are patrolling the area and are ready to take action against any youth disorder and anti-social behaviour.

“Anyone with any information can contact officers on 101 to report any incidents.”