Arson attacks rise in Hartlepool as Cleveland Fire Brigade has one of highest rates of deliberate fires in country

Cleveland remains the safest place in the country in regards to accidental fires in the home, but has one of the highest rates of deliberate fires.

Wednesday, 20th November 2019, 4:45 pm
Updated Thursday, 21st November 2019, 12:29 am
Cleveland Fire Brigade headquarters in Hartlepool.

The figures were presented to Cleveland Fire Authority Audit and Governance Committee, which showed the total number of incidents from April to the end of October increased by 201 to 5,601, compared to last year.

This includes a rise in the number of primary fires, from 410 to 452, and secondary fires, from 2,268 to 2,486.

In total 87% of the fires Cleveland Fire Brigade are called out on are classed as deliberate, totalling 2,572, and 90% of that number are secondary fires, mainly involving rubbish.

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Hartlepool has seen a rise in the number of deliberate fires, increasing by 51 to 419, a rise of 14%.

All areas covered by the authority also saw a rise in the number of deliberate fires, with Middlesbrough seeing a 17% increase, Stockton 14% and Redcar and Cleveland 12%.

For 2018/19 the rate of deliberate fires in the Cleveland area per one million of the population was 6,438, compared to the national average of 1,486.

Tim Graham, head of risk and performance, said: “We’ve reduced deliberate fires by 36% over the last five years, we’ve got one of the highest reductions in the country, but we’ve still got one of the highest rates of deliberate fires in the country.

“To put that simply, for every fire that another service has of a deliberate nature, we have four. It’s quite stark.”

However Cleveland remains the best performing brigade in the country for the number of accidental dwelling fires.

In Hartlepool there has been a reduction in the incidents compared to this time last year, falling by three to 13.

Stockton also saw a reduction, but increases were seen in Middlesbrough and Redcar and Cleveland.

The rate of accidental dwelling fires in Cleveland is 199 per one million people, compared to the national average of 474.

Mr Graham said there has been 82 incidents so far since April, and while that is up from last year, it is still 20 fewer than five years ago.

He said “That’s an exceptional performance, and we’ve had exceptional performance year on year.

“You’re half as likely to have an accidental dwelling fire in the Cleveland Fire Brigade area than elsewhere in the country, and we have the lowest rate of accidental dwelling fires in the country.

“One of the key areas which drives this is that we have the third highest rate of home fire safety visits per million of the population in the entire country.”

The brigade also saw a reduction in the number of false alarms, which fell from 1,884 to 1,820, due to ‘new strategies’ implemented.