Firefighters called to Wigan street several times by malicious callers

Firefighters were called several times
Firefighters were called several times

Multiple malicious calls saw firefighters attend the same Wigan street four times within hours.

The borough was left without fire cover when crews were called to Broom Street, in Worsley Hall, several times from 9pm on Thursday.

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An investigation is now under way by the police, as the dangers of making false reports was highlighted by the fire service.

Carl Gleaves, watch manager at Wigan fire station, said: "They are reporting false house fires with people trapped inside, which mobilise three appliances as a minimum each time. That leaves Wigan without any fire cover and the dangers of driving on the road in a 12-and-a-half tonne truck at speed when unnecessary.

"It was having quite a significant impact on fire crews in Wigan. It was a typically busy night with small incidents as well."

The fire service received four calls to different addresses on the same street and cannot assume they are malicious.

Crews have to attend and confirm that it is a false report, for example by tracing the call in case the person who phoned cannot answer due to a fire or if they are not at the right address.

Each incident can tie up the firefighters for 30 minutes.

Mr Gleaves said: "They need to be mindful that fire service resources are quite precious. In the current climate, they are reducing. Our ability to respond to incidents is reducing, so the last thing we need is to go to incidents like this.

"It leaves us without fire cover for other small incidents. If we can't respond quickly, they stop being small incidents."

The 999 call recordings have revealed they were made by children and an investigation is being conducted by the police.

Mr Gleaves said: "The police have been informed. Details have been handed over.

"I believe they have been calling 999 asking for police, fire and ambulance, so they have been having the same problems as us."

Mr Gleaves urged young people to think twice before making malicious calls.

He said: "I want to give this message to kids: it's getting to the time when they have had a bit of time off and are getting bored, but we are not bad guys so don't waste our time. Let us do our job.

"It might be them in future that needs our urgent assistance. We wouldn't like to be occupied with a false call when they needed our help."