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DON'T' GO OUT ALONE, FIRE CREWS TOLD; Two engines to attend calls after yobs target officers: Fire crews go in twos.

Byline: Emma Stone

BOSSES are to send two fire engines to every call in an area of Coventry after crews repeatedly came under attack from yobs.

They order, from West Midlands Fire Service, comes after a spate of incidents in Wood End in which of-f ficers were pelted with stones and other missiles as they fought fires, thought to have been started deliberately by youths.

The most recent attacks took place during a blaze in Almond Tree Avenue, Wood End.

Firefighters from Foleshill fire station were called out to a blaze on Thursday night after youths set fire to a gas cylinder.

Firefighters were met by a barrage of missiles thrown by youths, as they tackled the flames.

The incident followed a series of fires started on a grassed area off Eburne Road last Saturday.

As crews dealt with flames from a small fire, a gang of youths - aged between 14 and 16 - began hurling missles. The yobs also continued to light other fires in the area.

By the end of the call-out, a total of six fires had been started by the gang of youths.

It is understood the first fire was started deliberately to draw the city firefighters into an ambush.

Foleshill's Red Watch crew were forced to call for back-up and a second fire engine was called to the scene to help tackle the increasing number of fires. The fires and attacks in Eburne Road came less than 24 hours after a row of derelict houses were damaged in a suspected arson attack.

A blaze ripped through four terraced properties in Ashorne Close, destroying their roofs. It is the second time in a week arsonists targeted buildings in the street after a derelict house was torched last Sunday. A 20-strong team of firefighters spent more than three hours tackling the fire, which destroyed each roof.

The incident is being investigated by police. Coventry borough commander Simon Shilton said: "West Midlands Fire Service has a duty to protect its staff while providing the highest standards of service to the community. "As a result we have put in place temporary measures to increase our standard response to incidents in affected areas of Coventry to two fire engines .

"These measures will be reviewed on a regular basis." Anyone who has any information about any of the fires or attacks are urged to call West Midlands Police on 0845 113 5000. Information can also be passed onto police, in confidence, via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
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Title Annotation:News; Front Page
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Mar 22, 2010
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