Firemen accused of starting fires … only to put them out

Sicily is enthralling for many reasons, not only for its scenic beauty, food and weather. The island off the toe of Italy’s boot is thought to be the origin of some of the most famous and notorious Italian families in history.

Now it would appear that 15 auxiliary firefighters have been arrested with charges on suspicion that they have been starting wildfires and reporting non-existent blazes so they could earn approximately £9 an hour for putting them out.

Police in Ragusa province, on the island of Sicily, said the fire department became suspicious when it was discovered that the part-time brigade had responded to over 100 incidents compared with just 40 tackled by other volunteer teams over the same period.

The brigade commander, a refrigeration technician, has been held under house arrest because he was suspected off continuing to start fires after others had stopped.

Most of the remaining team members, whose mobile phone calls were recorded as part of the investigation, have since admitted phoning the 115-emergency number or getting friends or relatives to do it for them.

The brigade commander allegedly left the station in his van, lit fires or made false emergency reports, then came back and waited to be called out to deal with it. He showed “a sharp criminal ability and … no fear about the consequences of his behaviour”, police said.

Maybe someone made him an offer he couldn’t refuse.  For all your fire safety needs including fire alarms, fire extinguishers, fire blankets and fire risk assessments contact us at Bath & West Fire & Safety.

‘Bacon is off I’m afraid’

In these days of sunny moments and thunder clouds, it is difficult to make plans that are fail-safe; one minute it’s slapping on the sun cream and the next it’s brollies everywhere.
So, this makes planning an outdoor holiday in the UK, especially camping, a bit more of a challenge. Fresh air dining is a pleasure of camping but in this typical British summer the weather report needs to be watched very carefully before setting off to cook a three-course supper on the gas stove.
The general advice is that you should never use a gas, petrol or other combustion cooker inside your tent for two reasons: the risk of fire and the possible build-up of carbon dioxide, or worse, carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is odourless, smokeless, poisonous and can lead swiftly to unconsciousness and death.
It is also sensible to have a fire extinguisher and fire blanket handy, and never leave your cooking unattended.
Any heat source close to a synthetic fabric tent wall can be dangerous as the fabrics can catch fire. Appliances can also flare up, so an arching wall is a high risk. If the weather is bad, a separate high porch canopy combined with a windshield on the cooker will often provide sufficient weatherproofing for your cooking needs.
Or, better still, why not tell your fellow campers that the bacon is off, and how about bagels and orange juice instead? For all your fire safety needs including fire extinguishers and fire blankets contact us at Bath & West Fire & Safety. Happy camping!

South of France and Corsica hit by fierce forest fires

Hundreds of firefighters battled through the night on Monday to quell the flames of forest fires blazing in south east France and Corsica as hundreds of people were evacuated from houses, hotels and campsites. Firefighters say that some of the fires are still not under control.
The fires have hit areas in southern France, including the Var and Vaucluse departments, St Tropez and the town of Carros to the north of Nice. They have also been ravaging northern Corsica.
In total, the forest fires raging in south east France and northern Corsica have reduced 3000 hectares of land to cinders.
But fire fighters and water bombing planes are still in place fighting the blaze which has so far destroyed many hundreds of hectares of vegetation.
A fire raging in the town of Carros to the north of Nice has also been quelled according to a local radio station. The flames scorched 90 hectares, destroying a house and vehicles on its way.
The island of Corsica is some 140 miles from Nice, and with its craggy peaks and spectacular scenery it is popular with hikers and those who prefer an active holiday.
The origins of the fires in both France and Corsica are open to speculation, but thought to have spread so rapidly by coincidence because of dry forestation and arid weather.
For all your fire safety needs, including advice, fire alarms, fire extinguishers, fire blankets and fire safety assessments contact us at Bath & West Fire & Safety.

It’s a hot summer – so where’s your blanket?

A lovely summer’s day. The lawn has been cut, the sun-loungers are strategically placed and the beer is cooling in the fridge, it’s time to relax. So why not have a barbecue? The UK has had quite a few hot and sunny days so there have been plenty of occasions to light up and eat alfresco. No longer just about charred sausages and under-cooked chicken legs, the barbecue of 2017 is a far cry from those drizzly days puffing and swearing at the smoulder and hiss as everyone huddled around wishing they were inside and a bit warmer.
The barbecue is now classed as ‘high food’, and touted by several celebrity chefs, although you don’t need to be too ambitious to create a tasty meal. Spatch-cock chicken, Lebanese lamb chops or simply salmon cooked on a bed of lemon slices are just a few recipes to try. But should the flames get out of control you need to be prepared.
The best way to extinguish a barbecue fire is to put the lid down (if you have one), but if there isn’t one, a fire blanket is an option to be used with care. Oxygen feeds a fire, and any fire involving fat, sugar, and existing flame will be more volatile, so it makes sense to be extra careful when cooking on a barbecue. So, take a tip from the Mediterraneans, take your time, be relaxed, and enjoy the garden gastronomy!
For all your fire safety needs including fire blankets, fire alarms, fire extinguishers and fire safety training contact us at Bath & West Fire & Safety