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MFB launches education campaign to tackle arson attacks

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11 Jan 2013
In response to the recent spate of suspicious fires in the Brimbank Park area the Metropolitan Fire Brigade is increasing its presence and running an education campaign for the community to reduce the possible impact of the blazes.

In the past two weeks MFB has identified 23 suspicious fires in Brimbank Park and the adjoining streets and five since Tuesday night.

MFB Deputy Chief Fire Officer David Youssef said the fires were “totally irresponsible, malicious and had the potential to destroy houses and cost lives”.

“Grass fires are extremely dangerous and can take lives and destroy homes in a very short time,” he said.

“This area is like many places on the urban fringe of Melbourne, where there is a real risk of damaging grass and scrub fires.”

Mr Youssef said deliberately lit fires were a major burden on the emergency services and the whole of the Victorian community, costing hundreds of thousands of dollars each year.

“Arson can destroy homes and kill people,” he said.

“Arson also adds to the incidents that emergency services need to respond to and puts emergency service personnel at risk of injury.

“Large or small these fires can have devastating consequences.”

Mr Youssef said MFB was working closely with Parks Victoria and Victoria Police in combatting this problem.

He said MFB now had an increased presence in the area with regular patrols.

He said posters had also produced for display throughout the park advising the community of what to do in case of fire and what to look out for.

Mr Youssef called on the local community to be the eyes and ears on the ground and report suspicious fires, further increasing the chances of preventing deliberately lit fires.

“With the public’s help these incidents can be reduced,” he said.

“If you see any suspicious behaviour call Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.  If you see or suspect a deliberate fire you should call 000 immediately.”

Mr Youssef said the community could help protect their homes by clearing out anything that could fuel a fire.

“People who are most at risk are those with homes or work places backing on to bush, grassland, reserves, scrub, paddocks and parks,” he said.

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