Arsonists 'putting lives at risk' by lighting fire near Chesterfield primary school

Firefighters and community leaders say the arsonists who lit a blaze close to a Chesterfield primary school are putting lives at risk.

Wednesday, 28th April 2021, 3:36 pm

Crews from Staveley Fire Station were called to the fire in woodland off Chatsworth Court, near St Joseph’s Primary School, Staveley, at about 5pm on Monday, April 26.

Derbyshire Fire and Rescue Service and councillors in the area say incidents like this are a drain on valuable resources.

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Firefighters deal with the blaze near a Chesterfield school. Image: Jonathan Reed.

A fire service sspokesperson said: “The service would like to remind people that this type of fire not only has an impact on local wildlife and the local community, but also while crews are tied up responding to such fires, they aren't available to attend potentially life risk emergencies.”

She said crews used water backpacks and buckets of water to extinguish the fire.

Staveley residents also criticised the ‘teenagers’ lighting fires – with some saying it was not an isolated incident.

Jonathan Reed posted on the Staveley and surrounding areas community resource Facebook page: “Do you know where your teenage children are? Are they coming home smelling of smoke? Woods set on fire near St Joseph’s School behind football field, wasting valuable time of fire brigade.”

And Sarah Jane Jones said: “We have put a fire out previously in the woods behind St Joseph’s.

"It is a persistent thing that is happening. Not good when we haven’t had much rain.”

Staveley town councillor Mick Bagshaw said those responsible were ‘endangering property, themselves and others’.

"I’d encourage people to report anything they know about this sort of incident,” Coun Bagshaw said.

"Somebody knows if their children have come home smelling of smoke.

"I’m passionate about tackling this sort of anti-social behaviour, as it has such a serious impact on people’s lives.

"As part of Operation Derbyshire I’m hoping to see more bobbies on the beat and I’m also calling for more joint working and joint surgeries where police, the fire service, councillors and others work together to tackle these issues.

"We often hear from young people that they need more things to do, and I agree with that. But money could be diverted from being wasted on sorting this sort of thing and actually be spent on new facilities for teenagers.”

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