Parties in Wrexham quarry put lives in danger

Reporter:

Claire Gallagher

LIVES are being put at risk by arsonists at drink-fuelled parties held at a historic quarry.

Youngsters have been meeting at Marford Quarry over the past few months and have been deliberately starting fires in the grass and trees.

Paul Whybro, county safety manager at Wrexham Fire Station, said the fires were putting lives in danger.

“We are not sure whether they are using things like petrol, paraffin, central heating oil or matches and disposable lighters to start the fires.,” he said.

“These fires could lead to injury or even loss of life, and there is damage being caused to a valuable local amenity which is host to many types of wildlife that would be affected by any fire in this area.

“Fires such as these are a heavy resource commitment and can affect the fire service’s capability to attend other incidents.

“We have to respond and even small fires like this can tie up the crew for an hour.

“At the same time there could be a house fire, and it could interfere with training or the firefighters giving advice or fitting smoke alarms.”

Mr Whybro said: “It’s also a concern to the young people – if they are playing around with petrol and spill it on themselves they could set themselves on fire.

“There are also concerns about them drinking alcohol and messing around with lighting fires – it’s dangerous.”

He added that the fires had spread more easily because of recent dry weather.

Mr Whybro said: “We don’t want to have a larger fire with the possibility of somebody getting hurt.”

The most recent incident came when Wrexham firefighters were called to the quarry at 4.07pm on Monday, April 26, to 100 sq metres of grass on fire.

North Wales Fire and Rescue Service plans to talk to youngsters about the issue at a meeting at Gresford Youth Club on May 11 at 7pm.

Sgt Dawn Samuels from the Neighbourhood Policing Team based in Gresford, said: “There have been an increasing number of young people in the area during late evening so we are ensuring patrols in the area will be made, with alcohol being seized from those found in possession of it.”

Sgt Andy Piggott from the North Wales Arson Reduction Team said: “As well as putting the lives of others in danger, the people setting these fires are playing a very dangerous game with their own safety.

“I would ask parents to ensure they know where their children are during the evenings, and if they come home smelling of smoke ask them to explain where they have been and what they have been doing.”

Information on fires can be passed to Crimestoppers on 0800 555111, or non-urgent calls can be made to North Wales Police on 101. Urgent reports should be made on 999 as normal.

See full story in the Leader

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