Edinburgh firefighters battling two deliberate blazes every day, data shows

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FIREFIGHTERS are tackling deliberate blazes across the Capital at the rate of two-a-day, latest available figures reveal.

Scottish Fire and Rescue Service data shows they dealt with 128 fireraising calls in the city in March and April last year.

Three appliances were tackling the blaze. Picture: Ian Georgeson

Three appliances were tackling the blaze. Picture: Ian Georgeson

Nationally, officers were called to more than 1,824 deliberate fires in the two months.

SFRS Deputy Chief Officer David McGown said: “Make no mistake – fire can cause injury and death, it can be devastating to properties, businesses and the environment.

“The fact that our firefighters are called to thousands of deliberately set fires each year is completely unacceptable.

“Firefighters exist to protect their communities – yet they are still being put at risk by a small minority of people who continue to deliberately set fires.

“Deliberate fires are not only reckless and dangerous, but can also divert SFRS resources away from genuine emergencies where people require our help.”

DCO McGown spoke out ahead of a #StampItOut spring safety campaign by firefighters and police to crackdown on fireraisers.

He added: “Let me be very clear – we operate a strict zero tolerance approach to deliberate fire raising.

“This reckless and selfish behaviour will not be tolerated, and we will continue to work very closely with our police and local authority partners to provide evidence that will ensure those responsible are identified and held to account.”

Deliberate fires involved building and vehicle fires, and also incidents involving outdoor areas such as fields, refuse, and countryside.

The number was down more than third (34 percent) on the 2,782 deliberate fire calls that SFRS crews were mobilised to between the same period in 2017.

DCO McGown added: “It absolutely goes without saying that we prefer to prevent fires – not fight fires.

“As a result, our firefighters work extremely hard to engage with the public and promote safety messages, and parents and carers can also help by making sure that children and young people are aware of the risks.

“It’s pleasing to note this reduction – but we will not be complacent, and will always look at how we can continue to drive down deliberate fires.”

He added: “I would also urge the public to continue to support their firefighters by reporting any fire related anti-social behaviour because there are always people out there in need of our assistance at genuine emergencies – and every second counts.”

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