Three fire crews were tied up fighting four rubbish bin blazes in the space of an hour in the same part of Preston.
And the incidents, all believed to have been started by the same person, have prompted a warning from the city’s fire service.
“It is not just the fact that they are wasting our time,” said crew manager Mick Birks. “It is the impact on the service if there is a bigger fire elsewhere at the same time.
“We would have to mobilise a crew from further afield to a major incident like a house fire.
“Inc idents like these take resources away from where they may be urgently needed.”
The first two calls came from the Moor Lane student accommodation area in Preston and needed both appliances from the city’s fire station to attend.
One of the engines was then redirected to a blaze in Plungington Road and, when a fourth fire broke out 100 metres away, another crew from Penwortham had to be summoned.
“These fires tied up three appliances when they could have been needed elsewhere,” said crew manager Birks.
“While they weren’t in an exact straight line, it is likely they could have been the same person or persons on their way home.”