Hoax call left Blackburn with no firefighter cover

FIRE chiefs in East Lancashire have issued a stark warning about the dangers of hoax calls, after Blackburn was temporarily left with no cover earlier this week.

Despite a 65 per cent decrease in hoax calls in the region since 2007, worried officers said people still needed reminding that ‘genuine emergencies are being put at risk’.

At 8.30pm on Monday night, a man rang 999 claiming that people were trapped in a burning house in Accrington Road, near the Intack traffic lights.

As one of Blackburn’s two pumps was already out attending an automatic fire alarm, when the malicious call came in, back up was sought from Hyndburn.

Blackburn crew manager Steve Johnson said: “We always send two pumps to a house fire, then it was upgraded to a three-pump fire because the caller said there were people inside. That meant that two pumps from Accrington also had to be called out. When we got to the house, there was no fire.

“But the message needs to be put out there that fire engines cannot be in two places at once, and hoax calls tie up a lot of resources.

“For 10 minutes on Monday night the nearest cover was 15 minutes away.”

In five years, the number of hoax calls in Lancashire has gone down almost 70 per cent – from 787 to 233.

The number of hoax calls in East Lancashire has fallen from 170 calls in 2007 to 59 so far this year.

The biggest number this year have been recorded in Blackburn, with 23 calls, followed by Burnley with 22.

John Taylor, of the Lanc-ashire Fire and Rescue Service, said the main reasons for the decline are improving technology in call tracing, less phone boxes for hoaxers to use, and an arrangement with ‘pay-as-you-go’ mobile providers to immobilise SIM chips of hoaxers phones.

Monday night’s call was made from a kiosk on the corner of Pringle Street and North Road by a man.

The call is now being dealt with by police, and if traced, the caller could face a heavy fine.

Comments (9)

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11:08am Wed 3 Oct 12

ladysal says...

Forget heavy fines: they are a joke: the likelihood of the offender actually paying them at a speed which hurts are close to zero.

A much better idea would be to make them look at the possible repercussions of their actions. Footage of a fatal fire or three, together with the associated injuries might do the trick. It is possible to do this in a way which doesn't intrude on confidentiality of victims, etc.
Forget heavy fines: they are a joke: the likelihood of the offender actually paying them at a speed which hurts are close to zero. A much better idea would be to make them look at the possible repercussions of their actions. Footage of a fatal fire or three, together with the associated injuries might do the trick. It is possible to do this in a way which doesn't intrude on confidentiality of victims, etc. ladysal
  • Score: 1

11:19am Wed 3 Oct 12

district01 says...

Make them sit through all party political conferences. That would make them realise they are not the only ones who are motivated by gang like actions!
Make them sit through all party political conferences. That would make them realise they are not the only ones who are motivated by gang like actions! district01
  • Score: 1

12:58pm Wed 3 Oct 12

burner says...

Methinks the lack of fire-fighters was not down to a single call-out ( what would have altered if the fire were real ?? ) : there's a lack of fire-fighters . . . full stop. It doesn't matter where they are deployed. There's not enough. . . . any fire-fighter care to comment?
Methinks the lack of fire-fighters was not down to a single call-out ( what would have altered if the fire were real ?? ) : there's a lack of fire-fighters . . . full stop. It doesn't matter where they are deployed. There's not enough. . . . any fire-fighter care to comment? burner
  • Score: 0

2:30pm Wed 3 Oct 12

ladysal says...

burner wrote:
Methinks the lack of fire-fighters was not down to a single call-out ( what would have altered if the fire were real ?? ) : there's a lack of fire-fighters . . . full stop. It doesn't matter where they are deployed. There's not enough. . . . any fire-fighter care to comment?
True (I'm not a fire fighter....) but we have to make the best of what we have. Whilst one appliance wouldn't have been enough if there had been a fire, it would have been ale to provide cover until the other ones arrived fifteen minutes later.
[quote][p][bold]burner[/bold] wrote: Methinks the lack of fire-fighters was not down to a single call-out ( what would have altered if the fire were real ?? ) : there's a lack of fire-fighters . . . full stop. It doesn't matter where they are deployed. There's not enough. . . . any fire-fighter care to comment?[/p][/quote]True (I'm not a fire fighter....) but we have to make the best of what we have. Whilst one appliance wouldn't have been enough if there had been a fire, it would have been ale to provide cover until the other ones arrived fifteen minutes later. ladysal
  • Score: 0

3:57pm Wed 3 Oct 12

HarryBosch says...

Appalling lack of regard and respect for ones fellow human beings. Six months prison sentence is the only appropriate punishment for the offender when identified. Straight before magistrates, none of that 'adjourned for reports' malarkey, short sharp IMMEDIATE shock! Only thing that''ll work. They'll be out in 8 weeks I know but it will make them think twice if they get tempted again!
Appalling lack of regard and respect for ones fellow human beings. Six months prison sentence is the only appropriate punishment for the offender when identified. Straight before magistrates, none of that 'adjourned for reports' malarkey, short sharp IMMEDIATE shock! Only thing that''ll work. They'll be out in 8 weeks I know but it will make them think twice if they get tempted again! HarryBosch
  • Score: 0

6:23pm Wed 3 Oct 12

woolywords says...

Surely in this day and age, it should be possible to locate the mobile phone by triangulation from the various 'cells' that the phone is operating within.
Also, how many lives are put at risk, when those fire appliances are tear-arsing through traffic to what they believe to be people in peril. The survival time in a smoke filled building is measured in just a few minutes, at best. By 15 minutes, you are cooked to such a crisp, that it requires dental records or familial DNA to identify you.

With the best will in the world and all the training that drivers get to cope, I'm dead certain that when they get that radio message, 'persons reported', they are giving it a bit more welly than they normally do, to get there a bit sharpish. It's only natural, I would have thought.

When Fearless Fred the Firefighter is honking that appliance along, dodging dopey drivers, belting through red lights and coping with the potholes and worn out road surfaces of Blackburn, while hundreds of gallons of water is sloshing around in the tank, you'll pardon me if I just admire the courage in him doing it from the safety of the kerbside.
Then when he gets to where he's going, his mates all pile into a blazing inferno of around 1000C with zero visibility, to play Blind Man's Bluff. Again, count me out on that one...

I've stopped having candles on my birthday cake now because I'm so old that I'm a fire risk in my own rights.
Am not a fireman but my Uncle Tom was one, so I know a little about it. Just enough, to admire the sheer courage, quiet dedication and massive skills required to do the job.
Surely in this day and age, it should be possible to locate the mobile phone by triangulation from the various 'cells' that the phone is operating within. Also, how many lives are put at risk, when those fire appliances are tear-arsing through traffic to what they believe to be people in peril. The survival time in a smoke filled building is measured in just a few minutes, at best. By 15 minutes, you are cooked to such a crisp, that it requires dental records or familial DNA to identify you. With the best will in the world and all the training that drivers get to cope, I'm dead certain that when they get that radio message, 'persons reported', they are giving it a bit more welly than they normally do, to get there a bit sharpish. It's only natural, I would have thought. When Fearless Fred the Firefighter is honking that appliance along, dodging dopey drivers, belting through red lights and coping with the potholes and worn out road surfaces of Blackburn, while hundreds of gallons of water is sloshing around in the tank, you'll pardon me if I just admire the courage in him doing it from the safety of the kerbside. Then when he gets to where he's going, his mates all pile into a blazing inferno of around 1000C with zero visibility, to play Blind Man's Bluff. Again, count me out on that one... I've stopped having candles on my birthday cake now because I'm so old that I'm a fire risk in my own rights. Am not a fireman but my Uncle Tom was one, so I know a little about it. Just enough, to admire the sheer courage, quiet dedication and massive skills required to do the job. woolywords
  • Score: 0

6:43pm Wed 3 Oct 12

woolywords says...

Here's an urban legend about firemen.

The new Watch Manager decides to have a run out with BA crew on their pump, jumps in the front seat and finds a controller on the dashboard, he asks, 'What's this for?' The driver tells him that, 'it's for changing the lights, Boss.'
So as they approach each set of lights, he's pressing the button and some of the lights are changing in their favour. After a while, he notices that not all the lights are going green and says that it must need new batteries. 'Try hanging out the window', suggests the driver and so he does but with little improvement.
Meanwhile, in the back, the BA crew are all crying laughing their breathing apparatus sets.
Days later, when the truth is out, and they are all on a charge before the Watch Commander, everyone gets an hefty fine but because it was worth the laugh, nobody moans.
Here's an urban legend about firemen. The new Watch Manager decides to have a run out with BA crew on their pump, jumps in the front seat and finds a controller on the dashboard, he asks, 'What's this for?' The driver tells him that, 'it's for changing the lights, Boss.' So as they approach each set of lights, he's pressing the button and some of the lights are changing in their favour. After a while, he notices that not all the lights are going green and says that it must need new batteries. 'Try hanging out the window', suggests the driver and so he does but with little improvement. Meanwhile, in the back, the BA crew are all crying laughing their breathing apparatus sets. Days later, when the truth is out, and they are all on a charge before the Watch Commander, everyone gets an hefty fine but because it was worth the laugh, nobody moans. woolywords
  • Score: 0

1:20pm Thu 4 Oct 12

Blue-tonic says...

morons!
also worrying is when the ambualnce service is dealing with druggies and drunks on a daily basis..... this leaves no cover for the genuine people in need, and THIS happens everyday!!!
morons! also worrying is when the ambualnce service is dealing with druggies and drunks on a daily basis..... this leaves no cover for the genuine people in need, and THIS happens everyday!!! Blue-tonic
  • Score: 0

3:58pm Thu 4 Oct 12

norah bhatty says...

Surely there is enough technology now to trace the idiot(s?) Perhaps there is not enough effort being put in to tracing the low-life who obviously get a buzz from making such calls. If caught, name and shame and make them pay - if they have any money to pay with - if not, deduct from their benefits - hit them where it hurts the most.
Surely there is enough technology now to trace the idiot(s?) Perhaps there is not enough effort being put in to tracing the low-life who obviously get a buzz from making such calls. If caught, name and shame and make them pay - if they have any money to pay with - if not, deduct from their benefits - hit them where it hurts the most. norah bhatty
  • Score: 0

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