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Thursday, 24 April 2014

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Fire at former Kangol factory in west Cumbria

Pranksters targeted a derelict factory as they twice falsely lured firefighters to the scene.

The day shift at Whitehaven fire station received the first call to the former Kangol factory, in Cleator, at about 5.25pm yesterday.

They received reports of a fire, after smoke was seen coming out of one of the buildings.

However, on arrival they discovered that youths or pranksters had broken into the factory. Once inside, they had piled up rubbish in the centre of an empty room and set fire to it.

It took firefighters minutes to extinguish the small blaze, before returning to the station.

Two hours later and a second 999 call came in, reporting a blaze at the former hat factory. When firefighters arrived they found no sign of a fire.

A spokesman for Whitehaven fire station said: “Call operators suspected it was a hoax, as the man became abusive when they asked for more information.

“However, because of the earlier fire, they felt it was still justified to send a crew.”

He continued: “Unless a call can be proved to be malicious, we have a duty to respond to all reports.

“This is a waste of resources and could risk lives, as an appliance could be unable to respond to a genuine emergency.”

Cumbria police are investigating.

It is the second time in less than a week that the fire service in west Cumbria has been targeted by pranksters.

A hoax caller previously sent fire crews on a search around the Arlecdon and Asby areas, after reporting that a car had veered off the road and was alight with people trapped inside.

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