ELLESMERE Port firefighters are warning arsonists not to put people’s lives in danger by starting malicious blazes over Easter.
Green Watch manager Ant McCarthy says there is usually an increase of nuisance fires during the holidays which could prevent crews from attending a more serious incident.
He cites the recent blaze at a house in Willow Grove, Elton when crews rescued a woman as an example of how important it is that their time is not wasted by tackling a deliberately-started car, rubbish or grass fire.
Mr McCarthy said: “The Easter holidays can often become a busy time. More often than not we are called to small fires involving rubbish, bins or grass which have obviously been ignited deliberately.
“Green Watch recently attended a very serious fire in Elton. Two firefighters rescued a female essentially saving her life.
“Had one or both of the pumps been attending a nuisance fire then the outcome of the fire could have been much worse.
“In 2007 we had over 650 of these incidents in the Ellesmere Port area. We also had 134 house fires in Ellesmere Port all of which could have had people inside.
“If a fire appliance is attending an incident of a rubbish fire that has been deliberately ignited then it is not available for a further call to any fire until that one is extinguished.
“An average house fire with persons reported requires at least nine fire service personnel to be able to perform a rescue effectively. That is two fire engines.
“If a fire engine from Ellesmere Port has been called to a rubbish fire then they are not available for any other fire calls.
“That leaves five service personnel to try to rescue the persons trapped in the house until backup arrives which could take 15 minutes.
“If you were trapped in your house when it was on fire you need us there as quickly as possible. We can’t get there if we’re putting out a fire that has been lit by a group of youths just looking for kicks.
“The fire service is here to save lives. Please don’t waste our time by lighting illegal fires.”