7:25pm Tuesday 6th May 2014
By Chris Tate
Firemen tackled five deliberate fires in 24 hours at a Baildon beauty spot, leading to calls for parents to clamp down on the “mindless” yobs thought to be to blame.
Fire crews from Shipley station were called to Baildon Bank at 7pm on Sunday then twice after that including one incident when 1,600 square metres of land had been set ablaze.
And on Monday night they were out twice at the same location, including one fire of 1,000 square metres.
All are thought to have been started on purpose said Shipley Watch Commander Alan Houldsworth.
“It is mindless. The area was tinder dry and we suspect kids have been lighting it,” Mr Houldsworth said.
He said the open area was full of nature and the fires could have spread to threaten neighbouring homes.
“The land could be supporting wildlife and there is also the danger it could have spread further and to nearby properties,” Mr Houldsworth said.
Councillor Debbie Davies (Con Baildon) said she was disappointed by the stupidity of those youngsters thought to have caused the blazes.
“The consequences of setting these fires could have been horrific,” she said.
“And it is simply not true to put forward the old argument of, ‘Oh, they’re bored and there’s nothing for them to do.’ There are loads of things for young people in Baildon - this is just deliberate destruction at a local beauty spot.”
Coun Davies said police should try to catch those behind the arson attacks, but action was also needed from the parents of those youngsters involved.
She said: “A lot of this comes down to parental responsibility. Mums and dads will know if their child has come home with clothes stinking of smoke.
“It’s down to them to take control of their children.”
West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service has now issued safety warnings.
“Setting malicious fires is no joke and could have devastating consequences,” a spokesman said.
“If our services are tied up dealing with deliberate grass fires it means we have less availability on the ground to deal with potentially life-threatening house fires or car crashes elsewhere.”
“Police have been informed about the recent incidents and will be increasing patrols in the area.”
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