Lives-at-risk alert after hoax fire call

PRANKSTERS caused chaos with a hoax call to the fire service this week.

The hoax call has prompted a warning from East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service which has accused the offenders of putting people’s lives at risk.

A 999 call was made to the fire service at 9.21pm on Tuesday evening claiming there was a fire with people trapped inside in East Street, Seaford.

Crews from Seaford rushed to the scene only to find the call was a hoax.

Minutes later the emergency services were called to a serious road accident on the A259 near Friston and crews from Hailsham and Seaford were both despatched.

Crews from neighbouring Eastbourne were already dealing with a fire in Elms Avenue.

The fire service said this week that attending hoax calls can cost lives and have very serious consequences for the fire service and community.

Garry Collins, the borough commander, said, “Attending false alarms means that the East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service appliances may not be available for real emergency fires and rescues.

“It also causes a disruption to essential training and community safety education initiatives that are taking place across the East Sussex and the City of Brighton & Hove.

“If crews attend operational incidents and it turns out to be a hoax call, the implication if another emergency call is received at the same time is serious.

“Crews may have to attend from other parts of the county and this may mean a time delay in which life or death may be crucial.

“People who make malicious calls could face a prison sentence, and at minimum have their mobile phone cut off, as all calls numbers are now monitored and recorded.”

Officers from Sussex Police are now investigating the hoax call.