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Issue 284 – Arson attacks in Frome are causing concern

Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service is urging members of the public, colleges, schools and businesses to be aware of arson attacks in Frome.

The warning comes after several incidents have taken place in the early hours of the morning in the Frome area which are causing concern.
On the 13th September a porta cabin was set on fire in the grounds of Frome Community College and a few days later a milk float, used to transport rubbish around the site, was set ablaze receiving 70% fire damage.
The following night, youths set fire to two wheelie bins in the town and later they ignited a paper bank close by.
The two most recent incidents took place over the weekend of 19th/20th September, when a youth was seen setting wheelie bins on fire late on the Saturday night and then a small pile of rubbish was ignited within pub grounds.
All of the fires were deliberate and in all incidents the fires were dealt with quickly and therefore did not spread.
Watch manager Mike Toop said, “Even though there are a few accidental bin fires, the majority are deliberately ignited. This is not only a serious fire threat to the surrounding environment, but also to any property nearby. It could also be a disadvantage to the fire crews who may need to attend another perhaps more serious incident but are dealing with a bin fire.
“We urge the public to keep their rubbish stored securely but to also keep an eye out for any suspicious behaviour.”
Devon and Somerset fire and rescue service is doing all they can by working closely with partnership agencies to reduce the number of deliberate fires in the area.
But we need your help too. There are simple steps that you can take to reduce the risk of being the victim of arson.

Risk reduction within schools and colleges

· Ensuring perimeter fencing is adequately maintained.
· The use of boundary signs to deter intruders.
· Ensuring that all windows and doors are securely closed.
· Any stores in and around the school are kept locked.
· Any waste or rubbish is well managed and stored securely away from main buildings.
· Any waste or wheelie bins are locked shut.
· Ensure regular school site checks are completed

Risk reduction when
storing rubbish

· Store your rubbish in a secure area if possible
· Keep your garage and shed locked, as well as your home
· Warn other people if a fire breaks out. Then get out, stay out and call the Fire and Rescue Service out by ringing 999
· DON’T allow rubbish to block escape routes
· DON’T store rubbish by doors, windows or any other openings
· DON’T store bins or sacks up against your home or business as fire can quickly spread to buildings
· DON’T overfill your bin or leave rubbish around it
· DON’T smoke in or around storage areas
· DON’T put bins out for emptying until the day your refuse is collected because they can: Provide fuel for a fire; be stolen or set on fire; be climbed on to help someone get into your back garden
· Be alert to strangers loitering in your street, if they have been there for some time call the police.
Security cameras and security lights are a particularly good idea for commercial premises, not only as they act as a deterrent but offer the added advantage of being able to record crimes as they occur, especially in cases where rubbish must be left unattended for long periods of time.

Report ALL fires

If we don’t know about them we cannot help, so don’t be afraid to tell us about a fire even if you think it is too small to be of concern to us, as in some cases these fires have spread to people’s property causing serious damage.
Police Constable Rachel Clark, from Frome Police Station said, “If anyone sees any suspicious activity then they should call the emergency services immediately on 999. Starting fires can sometimes be seen as pranks but there can be very serious consequences for victims and offenders alike. Fires spread easily and what may start as a small fire can soon spread to neighbouring hedges, vehicles and houses and put lives in danger.
“Together with the fire service we thoroughly investigate all suspicious fires and will deal robustly with anyone causing arson. I would encourage anyone with information on those involved in such activity to call Avon and Somerset Police on 0845 456 7000 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.”