Humberside Fire and Rescue crews had to tackle hundreds of deliberate fires during first lockdown

Hundreds of fires were started deliberately in Humberside during the first coronavirus lockdown, figures reveal.

Wednesday, 25th November 2020, 7:00 pm
Home Office data shows the Humberside Fire and Rescue Service responded to 479 deliberate fires between April and June – an increase of 10% on the 434 between January and March. Photo: PA Images

The National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) said it was “shocking” fire services across England had to respond to arson call-outs at a time when they were helping deliver food and medicine to the most vulnerable.

Home Office data shows the Humberside Fire and Rescue Service responded to 479 deliberate fires between April and June – an increase of 10% on the 434 between January and March.

The figures include all fires thought or suspected to be intentional, including arson, and others such as bonfires and grassfires.

There were eight non-fatal casualties from deliberate fires in Humberside, four of which required hospital treatment.

Nationally, 239 non-fatal casualties from deliberate fires were recorded between April and June – along with eight deaths.

Fire and rescue services across England attended more than 20,000 deliberate fires during these three months, during which the toughest Covid-19 restrictions were imposed.

NFCC chair Roy Wilsher said: “During these unprecedented times, the fire service is working incredibly hard to ensure the safety of communities across the entire UK, doing their upmost to protect the most vulnerable.

“However, it is shocking and unbelievable that we have seen a rise in deliberate fires, which results in additional pressure on already stretched resources.”

With people spending more time at home, the NFCC is urging them to employ fire prevention methods to allow fire and rescue services to respond effectively to emergencies.

A Home Office spokesman said: “Deliberate fires needlessly waste firefighters’ precious time and resources and enforcement action can be taken against those responsible.”