“AT the time they just see it as lighting a fire and it’s a big laugh.
“But it isn’t, because fire fighters get killed like that all the time.”
The words of Broughton Red Watch Commander Chris Rainford in a new TV documentary series.
He’s talking about the idiots who deliberately start fires – some 75 per cent of all blazes attended by the Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service.
It’s a staggering figure, highlighted in Inferno 999, which begins on Five next month.
The series was the subject of a news story in Friday’s MEN – an online version, with a gallery of four images, is here.
I watched all six programmes in the series one night last week.
Here are just a few more of the scenes and content that caught my eye, along with some other pics.
*Gangs of children set fire to empty houses, leaving streamers of video tape as a trademark tag. They think it’s a game – but it puts others in danger.
*Fire fighters risk their lives searching for the very people who might have started blazes in the first place.
*At the scene of one fire – three boarded up houses deliberately torched – one young man looks into the camera and says: “I’m glad we did it – it deserved it.”
*Aside from the intense heat and smoke, fire fighters face danger from collapsed floors and stairs, falling rubble, explosions and flash fires.
*Fire crews also face hazards from spent needles in drug dens.
*An epidemic of deliberate car fires cost the public £18m a year.
*Youngsters start fires or vandalise hydrants with stolen keys to lure crews to their area. At one call, a young child hits a firefighter on the leg with a stick.
“At another call, 17 “swarming kids” try to steal equipment from a pump. One member of the crew half-jokes that the gangs probably now have more equipment than they have.
*Cameras capture the devastation left after house fires, which can kill in just a few minutes. Working smoke alarms save lives.
*Inferno 999 begins on Five at 7.30pm on Monday Sept 3.
Fire Heroes In Spotlight
Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service