Warning following spate of deliberate fires in Bognor Regis

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Release date: 2 July 2019

Firefighters from Bognor Regis were called out to deal with four fires in as many hours on Friday night – all of which are believed to have been started deliberately.

West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service is now working with Arun District Council’s anti-social behaviour team following reports of several deliberate fires in and around Bognor Regis recently.  

Fires have been set in various locations including parks, residential areas, and near to commercial premises.

On Friday night, crews from Bognor Regis Fire Station were called to deal with the following incidents:

  • 5.46pm: fire in the open involving tyres, Harbour Road, Pagham
  • 7.36pm: reports of multiple fires in woodland off Harbour Road, Pagham 
  • 7.50pm: an area of around 5sqm of cut grass was set on fire in a field near Whitfield Close
  • 9.04pm: bin on fire on Marine Drive West

Over the course of the weekend there were further incidents, with residents living near the playground on Hook Lane in Pagham chasing off a group of young people who had set the climbing frame on fire.

On Saturday at 3.42pm firefighters from Bognor were again mobilised to reports of a fire in the open in a field off Marylands Crescent, which is believed to have been caused by young people playing with fire.

Together, agencies are warning that what may start out as a small fire can quickly escalate to a potentially life-threatening blaze and can also divert vital resources away from other serious incidents.

Chris Bowles, the Fire Station Manager for Bognor, East Wittering and Selsey, said: “The number of suspected deliberate fires we have dealt with in the town is concerning, and I would urge those responsible to think twice about their actions.

“Fires started deliberately can be particularly dangerous because they generally develop much faster. A fire that is started in a bin can spread to nearby properties or vehicles. What may have started as a small fire very quickly puts people’s lives, homes and businesses at risk.”

The service works closely with the police and always seeks to prosecute those people who have started fires deliberately.

The service is asking shops’ management teams and members of the public to be vigilant.

If you have any information about arson in your area, see anything suspicious, or witness someone deliberately starting a fire, call:

  •       999 in an emergency
  •       101 for a non-emergency
  •       Or to report anonymously, call CrimeStoppers on 0800 555 111

Take steps to reduce the risk

  •       Do not allow rubbish to build up around your home or business
  •       Restrict access to where waste is stored
  •       Store bins away from buildings to prevent the spread of fire
  •       Secure commercial bin lids
  •       Keep communal areas clear of rubbish and do not store things that obstruct exit routes
  •       Ensure that debris and litter does not accumulate around trees and shrubs, particularly when the weather is dry and hot
  •       Have skips collected as soon as they are full
  •       Contact Arun District Council’s Cleansing Team to report any build-up of rubbish and fly-tipping
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