Ryelands on fire

Fire damaged skate park on Ryelands.
Fire damaged skate park on Ryelands.

YOUTHS this week left Ryelands residents living in fear after starting late-night fires on the estate, one of which spread to two homes.

Youngsters had been seen throwing fireworks before Lancaster firefighters were called to a fire at the Dee Road skatepark at 9.25pm on Monday.

Rubbish had been piled up and set alight, just as it had been the previous Thursday night. An hour later, no sooner had the crew returned to the station, another call was received reporting a fire on land at the junction of Dee Road and Austwick Road.

They warned colleagues of the dangers and watch manager Karl Vietoris arranged a two-car police escort before a different crew attended the scene.

On arrival firefighters found flames ravaging fencing on the land, which had spread to the walls and windows of a council flat on Austwick Road.

The occupant, whom police got out of the property as a precaution, was back inside his scorched flat the following morning but did not wish to speak about his ordeal.

Mr Vietoris said: “When the crew came back from the first fire they said it was ‘kicking off’, with a large group of around 30 youths going round throwing fireworks.

“They felt there was a threatening presence and we got the police back-up because I was concerned about the safety of my personnel.

“The youths dispersed a bit when we got there but there was still a group of teenagers having a good gander.

He added that fireworks needed to be treated with respect. “There is a danger of injury to themselves and others and of igniting properties with people inside,” he said.

Friends called round to check Wendy Cooper and her nine-year-old daughter Clarissa were okay and spotted that the wind had caused the flames to spread to the guttering on her Dee Road home.

See the Lancaster Guardian (27-10-11) for full story.