Fire alert for Oswestry

Lives are being put at risk by a deliberate fireraiser who has carried out a series of arson attacks on Oswestry housing estates, warned Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service.

In one attack a householder had to be treated by paramedics for smoke inhalation after a hedge was set alight.

Residents are being asked to be on "extra alert" to reduce the arson risk to their homes, business premises and property after rubbish bins and hedges were set on fire during a three day arson attack.

Risk Reduction Officers from the fire and rescue service, touring the area on cycles, aim to reassure residents and give out fire safety advice.

"These fires are being set deliberately and there is a potential for them to set fire to buildings," said the brigade's fire crime officer Derek Taylor.

"People's lives may be put at risk if firefighters are delayed in getting to more serious fires while dealing with these incidents."

The fire and rescue service is urging residents to secure their properties, close ground floor windows and lock garages and sheds to deter the arsonist. Rubbish should be put out for collection as late as possible but not overnight and should not be left near buildings.

Any possible intruder entry routes should be identified with action taken to lock gates to prevent unwanted access with extra lighting outside, if possible. Flammable materials must be stored in an appropriate container and locked securely away.

The first arson attack was on Bank Holiday Monday in Maple Avenue when Oswestry retained firefighters were called out at 4.15pm to a hedge fire. At 10.30pm the next day they were called out to another hedge fire in Brookhouse Road in which the resident whose home was attacked had to be treated for smoke inhalation.

Just a few minutes later, firefighters were called to a bin fire at Coney Green at 10.45pm in which rubbish had been deliberately set on fire. A second bin fire was reported the next day during the late evening in Lorne Street, Oswestry.

"We just want people to be vigilant and report any suspicious activity to the police or if you have any information about these fires contact Crimestopers on 0800 555 111 where you can leave an anonymous message. We need to catch the person responsible," said Mr Taylor.

10th May, 2010