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Stamping out arson attacks in Bexley with fire-proof letter boxes

PUBLISHED: 10:25 10 February 2017 | UPDATED: 14:08 10 February 2017

More than 400 arson-proof letter boxes have been granted to Bexley's fire brigade, along with fire retardant bedding

More than 400 arson-proof letter boxes have been granted to Bexley's fire brigade, along with fire retardant bedding

Archant

Hundreds of boxes are set to be fitted around the borough

Victims of domestic abuse are now able to protect their homes from arson attacks.

Bexley’s firefighters were getting as many as eight calls a week from various agencies, referring the brigade to at-risk residents who were in need of the fire-proof boxes.

Demand was proving so high in the borough that the Brigade applied for more via its own Community Safety Investment Fund.

Aimed at protecting vulnerable people and communities, the fund provides grants to supply equipment such as fire retardant bedding and nightwear for residents who may need additional protection from potential arson attacks.

Thanks to the fund, Bexley’s fire stations have received more than 400 arson-proof boxes to be used around the borough.

“I kept hearing about domestic abuse and hate crime cases involving arson and realised there was a clear fire risk which we could help prevent,” explained borough commander Graham Coles.

“We want to give peace of mind to anyone who has been a victim of domestic violence and this project will offer reassurance to anyone put in this project will offer reassurance to anyone put in this frightening situation.”

The Brigade has worked together with Bexley Women’s Aid and Victim Support, as well as the council, to provide support where it is most needed.

Trisha (not her real name) was a victim of domestic violence, and fire fighters helped protect her Sidcup home.

She said: “My son was mentally ill and out of control; he smashed everything up in my house.

“He is no longer living with me but was making threats to do it again.

“I’m a single-parent living with my two daughters and I felt so vulnerable, I was living scared in case my son came back and attacked us.

“A referral was made and the London Fire Brigade came to my house and fitted a letter box and smoke alarms.

“Anyone who is going through what I went through, I’d encourage them to get help. It makes me feel a lot safer having the letter box.”

“It’s such a relief to know help is out there if you need it.”

Added Mr Coles: “By working closely with the London Borough of Bexley and support organisations such as, Bexley Women’s Aid and Victim Support, we can really target those who desperately need arson prevention advice and support.

“Stopping fires before they happen is as important as responding to them when they do occur and this is a practical way to help protect some of Bexley’s most vulnerable residents.”

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