Winning war on firebugs
Blaze figures down
There have been almost 300 fires started deliberately in Rutherglen and Cambuslang over the past five years.
But the number has decreased for the past four years, with the fire service saying their message is starting to have an impact.
Figures obtained by the Reformer show fire services responded to 42 deliberate fires during 2015/ 16, with the year set to end in just a few days.
That compares with 46 last year and 72 in 2013/14.
In 2012/13 there were 81 fires started deliberately across the two towns, which was a sharp increase from 58 in 2011/12.
Station manager at Clydesmill in Cambuslang, Robert Deans said: “It is encouraging to see the great work of our community partnerships contributing to a reduction in deliberate fires across Rutherglen and Cambuslang and we are determined to see this fall continue into 2016/17.
“The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) will continue to work within the local area to tackle these fires at their root cause and remind people that both ourselves and Police Scotland take all forms of wilful fire- raising very seriously.”
The Rutherglen and Cambuslang figures corresponded with the picture across South Lanarkshire.
In the three months up to December 31, South Lanarkshire saw a 28 per cent drop in the number of deliberate primary fires and a fall in the number of deliberate secondary fires ( burning rubbish, grass or derelict property) to 136 – a five-year low for the area.
Of the 31 deliberate primary fires during that period 10 involved road vehicles, four were domestic garages and seven were incidents of people setting fire to property.
Senior officer for South Lanarkshire, Alan Fairbairn presented the figures to the Safer South Lanarkshire Board last week.
He said: “Deliberate fires are an unnecessary burden on SFRS resources and keep our crews away from more serious emergencies.
“Many of these incidents involve young people and intervention work is regularly undertaken by our community partners to engage with schoolchildren and encourage fire safety.”
Accidental house fires remained relatively static towards the end of 2015 but figures continue to highlight the dangers of cooking while under the influence of alcohol.
Of 72 such fires recorded in South Lanarkshire in the last three months of 2015 the majority were caused by cooking and in 13 cases alcohol was involved.