Children with matches risk causing death

YOUNGSTERS who start fires by playing with matches are putting other peoples' lives at risk because it can take firefighters away from real emergencies, it was warned today.

YOUNGSTERS who start fires by playing with matches are putting other peoples' lives at risk because it can take firefighters away from real emergencies, it was warned today.

Martyn Thorpe, assistant divisional officer with Suffolk Fire Service, was speaking after crews were called to Orwell Country Park, Sandyhill Lane, Ipswich, at around 3.15pm yesterday.

It was one of a number of incidents which kept fire crews in the region busy.

Upon arrival at the Ipswich incident, they discovered two acres of undergrowth and scrubland well alight and had to use the pathways as a natural break to stop the blaze from spreading.

ADO Thorpe said: “From the looks of it, it seems as if it was children playing with matches. There's always the potential a fire like this could spread further but we were fortunate that the wind was in our favour.

“Another time it could have been against us and then it would have been a lot harder to control. We've also been lucky in the fact that no walkers became blocked off or trapped by the flames, which is also a possibility.

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“The main point is that we've got three appliances tied up doing this because someone has started a fire deliberately - tying up resources that could be used to cover the town centre and deal with a more serious incident.”

Three crews from Ipswich, made up of 16 firefighters, attended the blaze.

Meanwhile, five fire crews were called to tackle an undergrowth fire in an acre of gorse at West Stow, near Bury St Edmunds, yesterday afternoon.

The crews from Bury, Newmarket and Mildenhall used hose reels to contain and control the fire, which broke out at just after 3pm.

In another incident, at just before 4pm, firefighters from Newmarket and Haverhill were called in to deal with a four-acre field fire at Carlton, near Newmarket. Both the incidents had been dealt with by early evening.

Two Colchester fire crews tackled a blaze over two hectares of wild land in Middlewick Ranges yesterday afternoon.

They used hose reel jets, beaters and water backpacks to fight the fire, which was reported at around 4.20pm. The fire was out shortly before 5pm.

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