Sunderland schoolgirl raises the alarm after arson attack

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SCHOOLGIRL Holly Outhwaite has been hailed for her help to crack down on fire yobs.

The 11-year-old Farringdon Community Academy pupil has been rewarded by Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service for her bravery and efforts to keep her community safe from fires.

Holly, from Doxford Park, Sunderland, received a certificate for raising the alarm to her mum, Belinda, after seeing signs of a fire started after antisocial behaviour.

Since then, Holly has continued to look out for potential hazards as she knows how destructive fire can be. For her bravery, Holly was presented with a Community Safety Awareness certificate by watch manager Mark Phelan during a surprise visit to Farringdon Fire Station, organised by housing company Gentoo, where she was given a VIP tour.

Holly’s mum, Belinda, said: “We’re all very proud of Holly.

“Thank you to the officers at Farringdon Station and to Gentoo for helping to organise the surprise. Holly was totally unaware what was going to happen, so it was a fantastic surprise.

“She was so overwhelmed, she couldn’t speak.”

Station manager Jeff Wilkinson, from Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, said: “Attending antisocial behaviour fires of this nature is a huge drain on resources.

“The quick actions of Holly ensured a swift response from the Fire and Rescue Service, and prevented further escalation of the fire.

“These are reckless acts, which potentially could lead to injury and death, not only to those starting the fires, but to families still living in the area and putting firefighters at risk.

“I would urge those responsible to think about the possible consequences of their actions and not to start fires in the future.”

Deputy director of Gentoo Sunderland, Lucy Malarkey, said: “Christmas can be a potentially hazardous time of year for fires, so it’s great to see one of our young customers doing so much to keep her community safe.

“Holly has shown huge consideration for her neighbours in Doxford Park and should be very proud.”