Sick hoaxer told firefighters baby was burning
12:18pm Thursday 10th October 2013 in News
A SICK hoaxer told firefighters a baby was burning inside an Unsworth house, sparking a huge police investigation.
Police believe the same person or group was responsible for another hoax two days later.
Officers linked the alerts to a six similar incidents last October and are appealing for help in identifying those responsible.
PC Richard Garland said: “The actions of this person or people are utterly deplorable and sick.
“Someone in the area will know who is responsible and we would urge them to get in touch to stop this happening again.”
The fire service was sent a text message at 2.10pm on Saturday which read: “There is a house on fire in Apollo Avenue in Sunnybank. A baby is burning inside.” It also gave a house number. Fire crews at Whitefield went to the house and found nothing despite a thorough investigation.
Two days later, at 4.20pm, a text from the same number read: “Fire at Apollo Avenue, burning baby inside.” Again, a house number was given.
Fire crews went to the house and found no sign of a fire.
In both instances, police and paramedics were also sent to the houses and were stood down shortly afterwards.
Whitefield fire station watch commander John van Geffen said such alerts can place emotional strain on firefighters who did not know what they would find on arrival at the houses. He added: “In this case, I was aware of the same wording coming into us last year and we expected it to be a hoax.
“Firefighters are always fully prepared for incidents, but hoaxes can affect their state of mind occasionally.
“This person or group is putting people’s lives at risk.
“When fire vehicles drive at speed, there is always a risk to other road users and, as we must send three fire engines to these call outs, it could potentially compromise our ability to go to other incidents.”
Last October, hoaxers were called out fire crews by text four times to Apollo Avenue and twice to Collinwood Close, both in Unsworth. At that time, police suspected the culprits were of school or college age as the calls were made at weekends or during school holidays.
Police are working with mobile phone providers and schools to trace those responsible. Anyone with information is asked to inform police on 101.
Comments are closed on this article.