News release text
Fire crews are asking parents to talk to their children about where they are and what they are doing during the summer holidays, after being called to four overnight fires started by youths.
One fire engine was sent to Princes Park, Romney Road, Chatham at 5.23am this morning and found a group of youngsters, thought to be aged between 12-16 years old, had been camping out and had started a fire to keep warm.
Medway Crew Manager, Jody Morgan, said: “When we spoke to the children, it became obvious that their parents thought they were staying at each others homes, not spending the night in the park, starting fires.
“We could really do with help from parents to talk to their kids about the importance of not starting fires deliberately. There is real potential for serious injury or even loss of life, not to mention the devastation deliberate fires can have on wildlife and the countryside.”
Boredom was the reason another group of youngsters gave to firefighters for starting a fire in Lordswood Lane just before 8pm last night, (Monday). Jody added: “We try to impress on them that their actions could prevent us from responding to a genuine emergency such as someone trapped in a house fire or involved in a road crash, where we’re needed urgently. It could also mean a huge fine or even a prison sentence.”
Youths are also being blamed for filling a bin with tree clippings and setting fire to it on the recreation ground in Canterbury Road, Folkestone last night. The incident happened at 11.27pm and one pump was sent.
Earlier the same evening, firefighters were sent to Haven Street, Wainscott at 8.44pm after youngsters were thought to have started a fire involving a tonne of baled straw adjacent to woodland. Crews spent 45 minutes putting the fire out with a hose reel, breaking the bale down and turning it over before leaving the scene at around 9.30pm.
Kent Fire and Rescue Service is asking people to report any information about illegal fire setting activities and those responsible (anonymously) to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Get further fire safety advice or call 0800 923 7000 (free from landlines).