Sharp rise in arson attacks

Dave Green, national officer at Fire Brigades Union has called starting fires deliberately a 'heinous crime'
Dave Green, national officer at Fire Brigades Union has called starting fires deliberately a 'heinous crime'

Fire services in Oxfordshire saw an increase in the number of arson attacks on homes last year, Home Office figures show.

In the 12 months to September 2017, the most recent data available, Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service attended 29 deliberately started house fires, 38 per cent more than the previous year, out of a total of 279 fires.

Dave Green, national officer at the Fire Brigades Union, said: “Starting fires deliberately in the home is a heinous crime. Rightfully, it is a serious criminal offence punishable by law.

“Arsonists do not just put the immediate victims at risk; they put whole communities and firefighters themselves in jeopardy. The fire and rescue service is already stretched to the limit in the fire cover they can provide.

“If firefighters are dealing with an arson at the same time as another fire call comes in, then those other victims are looking at a long wait before we can get to them.”

Also revealed in the statistics, 20 people lost their lives in Oxfordshire incidents attended by the fire service over the last five years, with four fatalities in the past 12 months.

There were also 47 casualties, including 23 people who were taken to hospital as a result of their injuries.