ARSON attacks attended by Keighley firefighters have slumped by over two thirds in the past decade, we can reveal.

New figures show that call-outs by the town's crews to deliberately-started fires dropped dramatically from 559 in 2003-4 to 158 in the last year.

The total number of 'shouts' also plummeted, from 1,433 to 587.

False alarms fell by half from 567 to 284, and accidental fires from 147 to 99

And the number of road traffic accidents attended slumped from 32 to just eight.

Brigade bosses have welcomed the figures, which are reflected West Yorkshire-wide.

But Haworth parish councillor John Huxley, who chairs the Worth Valley joint transport and emergency service committee, said while the figures were welcome they did not change concerns over levels of fire cover.

"The fall in call-outs is good news but a fire can break out at the drop of a hat and when you need a fire engine you need it quickly," he said.

Haworth Fire Station will close in its current form at the end of this year, and Keighley has already lost one of its two appliances.

"Even with this news about reduced calls the risk factor of losing appliances from Keighley and Haworth is too high," Coun Huxley added.

"Given that the size of Keighley and Worth Valley communities will continue to grow we need more fire cover."

West Yorkshire Fire & Rescue Service area manager Ian Bitcon said considerable work had been carried to improve fire and road safety, which he felt was a major factor behind the fall in incidents.

"Nationally the number of fires is falling and we are experiencing a more rapid drop in West Yorkshire," he said.

"This is due to several reasons such as new legislation and a fall in the number of smokers and chip pan owners, but it is essential that we also recognise the vital prevention work carried out by firefighters and safety officers in conjunction with partners. And the public has been very receptive.

"Our staff and partners have made a real difference in terms of making West Yorkshire safer.”

He added that during the past decade the brigade had been carrying out more targeted home fire safety checks and working with young people who had a history of starting


Across West Yorkshire, arson call-outs have dropped from 23,550 in 2003-4 to 5,666 and the overall figure fell from 52,909 to 22,737.

Coun Judith Hughes, chairman of the county's fire and rescue authority, said: "We have been a leading player in prevention work and officers are to be commended

on their commitment to keeping residents safe."