Two arson attacks on cars within the space of about 10 minutes, tying up both of Melton’s fire engines, could have put lives at risk as the nearest cover for any serious incidents would have had to come from as far away as Oakham or Birstall - a Melton fire chief has warned.
Police are hunting the arsonists who torched the cars on Nottingham Road and Drummond walk during the early hours of Monday.
Retained firefighters in one of Melton’s engines were called to the first incident, on the slip road to the cattle market on Nottingham Road, and then a second call came in for another car fire on Drummond Walk minutes later which the other town appliance had to attend.
Melton Mowbray crew manager Scott Smith, the incident commander at both car fires, said: “What’s worrying about these fires is that they were deliberate ignition and they tied up both of the town’s fire engines for a short while, meaning the nearest cover was Oakham or Birstall.
“The standard response to a car fire is a one engine turnout but we had two within the space of 10 minutes.
“While we’re dealing with these fires we’re not available for other calls. If we’d had a serious road collision, for example, there would have been no cover in the town. God forbid if I was ever involved in a serious road collision I wouldn’t want to be waiting for someone coming from Oakham or Birstall which are a fair way from Melton.”
Melton firefighters also had to tackle two wheelie bins on fire at the top end of Drummond Walk during the early hours of Monday. This incident is also being treated as deliberate ignition.
Mr Smith added: “The bins in this area always seem to be full and up against buildings so there’s the danger of the fire spreading.”
At around 8.20pm on Tuesday firefighters also tackled about 25m of hedging on fire at the alleyway between Scalford Road, and Balmoral Road.
A Leicestershire Police spokeswoman said: “We’re investigating the fires in Melton during the early hours of Monday morning.
“Two of the incidents were on Nottingham Road and the other on Drummond Walk. They all happened around the same time. The fires are believed to have been started deliberately and our enquiries are ongoing.”
Anyone with information should call police on 101.