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fireappliancerydegeneralMalicious calls could cost lives – that is the message from the Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service following two hoax 999 calls in just over a week.

As previously reported, two appliances from Newport Fire Station were called to Love Lane, Cowes on Monday last week to reports of a shed well alight, but no fire could be located. By the time the hoax had been confirmed, a second appliance had already been mobilised and was en-route to the reported incident.

Shockingly, a second hoax call was received this afternoon (Tuesday) also reporting a shed fire, prompting fears of a possible serial hoaxer. One appliance from Newport Fire Station and one from East Cowes Fire Station were called to Shamblers Road, Cowes at just before 13:15, but once again no fire was located.

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This afternoon’s malicious 999 call not only prompted a wholetime crew to respond to the incident, taking them away from station, but also retained firefighters from East Cowes who leave their place of work to man the appliance. The retained crew were stood down en-route to Cowes on the outskirts of Newport.

Mick Keenan, head of operations for the Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service, said:

“Malicious calls to the emergency services cost the tax payer and, more seriously, could cost lives as well.

“Luckily the problem on the Island is not as great as it elsewhere in the country but even one malicious call is one too many.

“As long as an appliance and its crew are responding to a hoax call it is not able to respond to a genuine emergency. For that reason alone making malicious calls is a dangerous and irresponsible thing to do.”

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