Praise for sharp fall in deliberate fire setting in Glenrothes

Station Manager Graeme Arnott of Glenrothes Fife Station
Station Manager Graeme Arnott of Glenrothes Fife Station

A concerted effort to tackle the problem of malicious fires in Glenrothes in recent months has proved a success for fire crews in the town.

The service has been praised after efforts to curtail the problem brought about a 25 per cent drop in incidents of deliberate fire setting in the period from April 2015 to March 2016 against figures for the previous year.

Crews attended 98 incidents across the Glenrothes area in the period compared to 130 the previous year.

The focused approach, which has seen fire officers working in partnership with Police Scotland, saw officers visiting schools in an effort to inform youngsters of the dangers of fire setting, as well as the ramifications if caught.

The number of incidents has more than halved since the decade high of 214 related fire setting incidents in 2011/12.

Graham Arnott, Glenrothes fire station manager told the Gazette the results were especially pleasing considering the time and effort his staff had taken to communicate with young people about the dangers.

“It is good to see that the message is now getting through and we will continue to make the problem of fire setting a priority, to drive it down further,” he added.

The statistics were just one of a number of highlights in a performance report presented to the town’s councillors.

A 41 per cent drop in the number of fires in non-domestic properties – down from 24 to 14 and the completion of 902 home safety visits across the area was also achieved.

However Mr Arnott admitted the continued problem reflected in the fact that half of all the domestic fires attended were at homes not fitted with smoke detectors, was a concern.

“The severity of those fires we are attending is diminishing which is good to see, but we need to work harder at getting the message out to the public regarding the importance of having smoke detectors fitted,” he said.

“We offer and install them free of charge to anyone and urge people who don’t have detectors to contact us.”

“Councillor Bill Brown, Glenrothes Area Committee chairman said the reduction was testament to the huge efforts of fire officers to tackle the issue of fire setting.

“I’m delighted to see that efforts to reduce this problem have proved successful,” said Cllr Brown.

“It also reinforces the message that this type of activity will not be tolerated.”