6:37pm Friday 27th May 2011
A MASSIVE blaze which threatened dozens of homes and raged for nearly two days is believed to have been started deliberately.
Several fire crews were called to a gorse fire on Stop and Call mountain, above Goodwick, on Thursday evening.
More than 30 firefighters from across the county were at the scene from 8pm until 1.45am, battling to save nearby homes.
Police blocked off roads, and properties near the scene were evacuated as a precaution as the fire spread rapidly down the mountain.
Appliances from Fishguard, St Davids, Haverfordwest and a water carrier from Pembroke Dock were called to the scene, and crews used hose jets to tackle the fire, plus beaters and ground monitors.
The blaze reignited on Friday morning, and fire crews tackled the blaze for nearly 12 hours as fire swept through an area of gorse and grassland.
Concerned residents watched from the streets as smoke bellowed from the mountain.
One local resident said: “It was quite a worry as the wind kept changing direction, and it got really close to some houses.
“We did start to panic at one point, but the firefighters were keeping a close eye on things.”
Resident Barbara Phillips said: “It came quite close to our back garden, but the firefighters did a fantastic job of redirecting it.”
Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service suspect the fire was started maliciously.
Incident commander Steve Bryant said fire-setting was a serious and dangerous crime, which puts additional pressure on crews and resources.
He said: “Our crews worked very hard in difficult conditions to control and extinguish the fire, which was prevented from spreading to the nearby properties.
“The investigation into the cause of the fire is ongoing, but we are not ruling out that it was started deliberately.”
He added: “I would urge the public to be vigilant around areas of dry grass and gorse to prevent any fires starting. It is also very unfortunate that at this time of year we see an increase in deliberately set fires.
“The fire and rescue service works closely with the police to try to secure prosecutions where we suspect illegal activity has taken place.”
Firefighters have been called to eight gorse or grass fires in the area since May 14th.
The incident was dubbed the ‘Great Fire of Goodwick’ on a Facebook group which attracted nearly 500 followers.
Anyone who suspects they are witnessing deliberate fire-setting is urged to call police immediately, or contact Crimestoppers confidentially on 0800 555 111.
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