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Police appeal over arson attacks

PUBLISHED: 16:08 07 May 2009 | UPDATED: 13:52 03 July 2010

The fire at the tyre compound on Southtown Road, Yarmouth.

The fire at the tyre compound on Southtown Road, Yarmouth.

ARSONISTS targeted businesses, a house and an abandoned caravan in a spree of incidents over the bank holiday weekend.

A massive blaze at a tyre dump on Southtown Road, close to the BP petrol station, caused traffic to be diverted after the road was closed for more than an hour on Monday evening.

ARSONISTS targeted businesses, a house and an abandoned caravan in a spree of incidents over the bank holiday weekend.

A massive blaze at a tyre dump on Southtown Road, close to the BP petrol station, caused traffic to be diverted after the road was closed for more than an hour on Monday evening.

Thick black smoke billowed into the air as dozens of tyres went up in flames at the compound, badly damaged by the blaze which is being treated as suspected arson.

About 35 firefighters fromm Yarmouth, Gorleston, Lowestoft and Hethersett, tackled the blaze which started at around 6.50pm.

Group manager at Norfolk Fire Service Greg Preston said the nearby petrol station was a concern to firefighters.

He said: “A concern of crews tackling any fire is to stop it spreading to neighbouring buildings but in this instance there was adequate space between the compound and the petrol station.”

Mr Preston said the use of new foam equipment, developed to tackle strong fires, had proved highly effective.

About six hours later arsonists set fire to a derelict caravan after breaking into the yard of a Gorleston car body work shop.

Two fire engines were called to tackle the fire at Pertwee and Back in Lowestoft Road after it was started deliberately at about 1.15am on Tuesday.

The blaze, which took 20 minutes to put out, damaged the exterior of the Ford body work building as well.

And firefighters were called to deal with four arson attacks in Russell Road, Yarmouth, over a period of five days. The first happened on Saturday at 11.50pm when one appliance from Yarmouth was called to a bin fire, which had been started deliberately. The blaze had spread to a nearby house and firefighters were called back to the area hours later to check for hotspots.

On Monday crews were called to a second rubbish fire at about 4.10am, which took a few minutes to extinguish.

Then in the early hours on Tuesday they were alerted to a ground-floor fire in a house where a 16-year-old boy was treated for smoke inhalation. Then on Wednesday shortly before 11pm crews were alerted to a garden fire which spread the house. Firefighters were drafted in from Loddon and Lowestoft as local crews dealt with an arson at Hemsby.

Inspector Nick Cheshire confirmed police had arrested a 15-year-old boy in connection with the alleged arson attacks on Wednesday night. The boy has been released on police bail pending further enquiries.

Insp Cheshire said: “We would appeal to anyone who heard or saw anything suspicious around the times of the fires to contact us.”

The string of arson attacks prompted Yarmouth fire station manager John Baker to warn of the dangers of starting a fire.

“Setting any kind of fire deliberately is something the fire and rescue service utterly condemns. Even what seems like the smallest fire, in a bin or a pile of rubbish, has the potential to spread and become something much, much worse. Not only do these fires tie up our resources but they quite simply put lives in danger.”

Anyone with information about any of the above fires to contact them on 0845 456 4567. Anyone with information about the Russell Road fires should contact Insp Cheshire or Sgt Miller at the South Yarmouth safer neighbourhood team on 0845 456 4567.


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