Fire safety education is vital, says Hampshire firefighter

Amanda Morby, Portsmouth

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YOUNGSTERS must be educated about the dangers of playing with matches, a leading firefighter has said.

It comes as a teenager was last week convicted for starting a fire in Portsmouth which led to £200,000 worth of damage.

As reported in The News, a 13-year-old boy admitted helping his friend start a fire at a housing construction site in St Mary’s Road near the church on June 27 last year.

Ty Whitlock, based at the headquarters of Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service in Eastleigh, organises workshops to educate youths about fire safety.

He said: ‘The dangers of playing with matches are highlighted throughout the county and none more so given the recent incident in Portsmouth. We have to look at the underlying reasons as to why children and teenagers play with matches. It could align to peer pressure or experimental reasons.

‘We work with them to try to reduce the risk of the fascination which, left untouched, could lead to these children being convicted arsonists.’