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Gateforth Park arsonists ‘playing with lives’ warn Selby firefighters
FIREFIGHTERS in Selby have given a stark warning to arsonists after being called to a derelict farm for at least the sixth time in two years.
They were called to the former mushroom farm at Gateforth Park, near Thorpe Willoughby, at about 8pm on Bank Holiday Monday, after seven local residents reported flames at the site.
Fire crews were there for almost three hours as they tackled a blaze in a large derelict building, which was so hot it caused the metal walls to soften and buckle, destroying the building.
Firefighter Suzanna Lumb said the cause of the fire was yet to be determined, but was not controlled burning, and said the starting of fires was irresponsible and a genuine threat to the region.
She said: “If people are going to be setting fire to things they’re wasting our time and the police’s time.
“While we’re dealing with that, they’re also depleting fire cover at York or Tadcaster , because they have to come and cover Selby while we’re dealing with it.
“If you’ve got a ten-year-old boy setting a fire somewhere while his parents are in a car crash a few miles down the road, we will be busy with the hoax or fire, and won’t be able to help the parents.
“We stress to people that hoaxes aren’t just against the law, but extremely dangerous and offenders may have to pay for it emotionally as well as financially, in the long run.”
In February, The Press revealed that although the number of hoax calls in Selby had fallen since 2009, crews still attended an average of about one hoax call per month.
Firefighter Lumb said she felt hoax calls were not a major issue in Selby, and some of the recent callouts to the mushroom farm had been to residents reporting controlled burning by workers on the site.
Two months ago, plans for the former mushroom farm to be used to create a new site for travelling fairground workers were refused by Selby District Council despite officers recommending permission be granted for permanent pitches for ten families to be built.