Fire crews dispatched to Harrow Court in Stevenage after hoax caller says people trapped in flat blaze

Harrow Court in Stevenage.

Harrow Court in Stevenage. - Credit: Archant

Pranksters wasted firefighters’ valuable time last night when they falsely claimed that people were trapped inside a burning flat.

The fire service received the prank call at 8.20pm from someone saying that people were trapped inside the flat in Harrow Court in Stevenage.

The building has held particular significance for firefighters since 2005 when three people, including two firefighters, died in a fire there.

Despite the operator’s suspicions that the call was a hoax, they were obliged to treat it as genuine and four fire engines were sent to the scene.

On arrival no fire was discovered despite a full search of the building.

The scene was declared safe by 8.40pm and the information was then passed on to the police, who are investigating.

A spokesman said they believe the call was made from a phone box near to Harrow Court, and is asking anyone who may have seen someone acting suspiciously in the area to contact police on 101.

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Herts fire service later tweeted: “Four pumps were dispatched to the scene tying up valuable resources that could have been needed elsewhere for genuine emergencies.”

UPDATE: A spokesman for the police said: “The incident is being investigated and it is believed that the call was made from a phone-box local to Harrow Court.”

Anyone who was in the area last night and who saw anyone acting suspiciously near to a phone box is asked to contact Herts Police non-emergency number 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.