Parents sent Easter weekend warning as youngsters spotted running away from blazes during lockdown

Parents are being urged to keep their children at home during the coronavirus lockdown as firefighters attend a number of deliberate fires.

The service said that these fires are often set by young people, and recently 999 callers have informed its control room that young people have been seen running away from fires in wood and waste land.

A garden fire in Brunswick Village and Cox Green, Sunderland. Image by Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service.

Assistant Chief Fire Officer, Peter Heath said: “We know it’s a very difficult time for many families – and we are very thankful to those who have ensured their children are abiding by lockdown and social distancing.

“However, we’d like to reach out to all parents and carers to ask them to talk to the younger members of the family on the importance of staying at home.

“The fact that our crews are attending to deliberate fires, at any time, let alone a time when everyone should be at home, is very hard to understand.

“Our crews are often attending fires deep in woodland, tying up an appliance which could be needed for a life-risk incident.

“It also risks bringing our firefighters into unnecessary contact with others at a time when social distancing is vital to limiting the spread of the coronavirus.

“We are also concerned that some younger people are continuing to meet up with friends and could be spreading or catching the coronavirus.

“We know that young people can have a tendency to believe themselves to be invincible, but very sadly, the coronavirus is no respecter of age.”

The fire service is also reminding our communities about the dangers and restrictions of controlled burning after seeing a 115% increase in fires caused by people burning waste in their gardens, since lockdown was announced.

These fires are often spreading to flammable materials, causing bigger fires and/or environmental hazards.

Assistant Chief Fire Officer, Peter Heath continued: “These fires are a significant source of air pollution and the smoke can include poisonous gases, such as carbon monoxide.

“Our advice is very straightforward and clear – don’t burn household waste, plastics, rubber or any other material, which could cause harmful smoke.”

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