Sunderland is blighted by the highest number of serious fires in Tyne and Wear, new data reveals.
Next week,Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS) chiefs will discuss performance figures for the first two quarters of 2018/19.
While the number of Sunderland callouts have reduced by 11 per cent (136) between July and September – compared to the same period last year – serious fires are currently the highest in the region.
Government guidance defines primary fires as those causing harm to people or damage to property.
This includes fires in non-derelict buildings, vehicles, outdoor structures, any fire involving deaths, casualties or rescues or fires attended by more than five fire engines.
The latest data for 2018/19 states that the number of primary fires attended has risen from 263 to 282 on the previous year.
The figure puts Sunderland above Newcastle (268) Gateshead (158) North Tyneside (123) and South Tyneside (106).
The number of deliberate primary fires is also the highest in the region at 153 and more than triple the number of fires in South Tyneside.
Head of service delivery at TWFRS, Steve Burdis, said: “We have seen a rise in some primary fires attended, for example, vehicle fires and deliberate secondary fires in some areas of Sunderland.
“We’re working closely with our partner agencies such as the police and the local authority to put measures in place to try to reduce these incidents.
“For example, in the last month we have launched two initiatives, in the Southwick and Hendon areas respectively, working with the police, the local authorities and housing group Gentoo.
“During these initiatives we have carried out home safety checks, provided advice to residents on reducing the risk of fires both in and out of their homes; as well as speaking to businesses on arson prevention tips.
“Our prevention and education teams have been holding and continue to do special assemblies to talk about the impact of anti-social behaviour within schools in the city including deliberate fire setting and what the risks of doing this are.”
Other tips for the public include reporting fly-tipping to councils, discarding of smoking materials carefully and storing wheelie bins securely, especially at night.
Anyone with fire concerns can also arrange home safety checks with their community fire stations.
The performance report – which will be discussed by fire chiefs on Monday November 12 – also lists statistics on fire-related injuries and deaths in Tyne and Wear.
Between July and September three deaths were recorded – with one linked to North Tyneside and two in Sunderland.
The meeting will start at the fire service’s Nissan Way base at 10.30am and for more information: visit: www.twfire.gov.uk
Primary Fires attended 2018/19
North Tyneside: 123
Deliberate primary fires attended 2018/19
North Tyneside: 49
Chris Binding , Local Democracy Reporting Service