Youngsters learn dangers of fire

VIDEO After a number of suspicious car blazes in parts of Ipswich, youngsters have taken part in a pilot initiative on the dangers of fire.

AFTER a number of suspicious car blazes in parts of Ipswich, youngsters have taken part in a pilot initiative on the dangers of fire.

There have been a number of car fires across the town in recent weeks, causing thousands of pounds of damage and disruption to residents.

And last summer, the south east Ipswich community was blighted by arson as gangs of bored youths torched vehicles and woodland areas.

In a bid to kerb the chaos, students from Holywells High School in Lindbergh Road were invited to take part in a six-week, hands-on firefighting course, staged thanks to the Prince's Trust programme.

Geoff Pyke, Suffolk Fire Service's Ipswich district commander said: “The community is suffering and people are getting fed up with it.

“We had to deal with a lot of burnt out cars last summer but if we can get in there this year and talk to the children it will make all the difference.

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“These children are our future and the future of their communities. If we can impart some of the positive attitudes of the fire service it might help them as well as us.

“They can be advocates for us and look out for problems in their school and hopefully realise the responsibility they have for their communities. If this can be nurtured everyone can have a safer life.”

Pupils also learnt how to extinguish mock house fires, handle dangerous chemicals and deal with road traffic accidents.

The Prince's Trust scheme helps to prepare children, who may not have academic ambitions, for life after school, as well as giving them a sense of community awareness.

Patricia Morphew, a youth worker at the scheme, said: “The trust is so important because it prepares them for the real world.

“If they're not academically shining, this is another way of showing them that they can do something else really well.”

Pupils, who were presented with certificates to mark the end of their training, said they enjoyed the scheme.

Shahn Richards, 14, said: “I thought it was really interesting. I don't like fire though so I don't want to be a firefighter but it has made me think more about fire safety.”

Samantha Jaques, 15, is thinking about a career in the fire service when she leaves school. She said: “It was really interesting to see how the car was cut up after the road accident.”

Is your community plagued by suspicious fires? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail

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