FIREFIGHTERS in Taunton are having "ongoing issues" with children as young as eight starting fires.

Parents are being urged to be vigilant and to look out for warning signs that their children could be displaying "fire setting behaviour".

The warning comes after a young boy was taken to hospital suffering from burns to his face, hands and arms in an incident in a park in the county town last week.

A social media post by Taunton Fire Station asks if parents know what their children are up to.

It adds: "We are having some ongoing issues with children as young as eight getting involved with fire setting behaviour.

"As a result of (last week's) incident, a child was taken to Bristol Children’s Hospital with burns to his face, hands and arms."

The post adds: "This issue is not limited to the Taunton area. We have had similar incidents across both Devon and Somerset.

"Please don’t allow children to access matches or lighters, and be mindful of where they’re going and what they’re doing.

"We don’t want any more children to be hurt."

READ MORE: Boy injured in aerosol incident in Eastwick Park.

A Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service spokesperson said: "Take action if you are worried about a child who displays fire setting behaviour.

"Whatever their motives, fire setting should never be ignored.

"We can help reduce the chance of further fire setting behaviour developing through our education and intervention programmes."

They added: "Most children have a natural curiosity about fire which can show in little ones as young as two years old.

"However, sometimes, this interest in fire can escalate and develop into something more serious."


  • small burn holes in carpets, beds and furniture;
  • charred paper in sinks or bins;
  • matches or lighters hidden in cupboards, drawers or under their bed;
  • unexplained fires in your home.

The service's Firesetter Intervention Programme for children and young people up to the age of 18 will:

  • help them understand and manage the thoughts and feelings that lead them to start and play with fires;
  • teach them about the effect that starting fires can have on themselves and others.

If you need help, call 0800 0502999.


  • Store matches and lighters out of sight and reach of children and young people.
  • Don’t leave children alone in the house, even for short amounts of time.
  • Look for lighters or matches in bedrooms and school bags.
  • Keep outbuildings, garages and sheds locked so flammable items are out of reach.
  • Explain that fire is a tool, not a toy.
  • Explain that fire is dangerous and can cause harm and lead to death.
  • Make sure your home is fitted with working smoke alarms, so you’re alerted to any firesetting.
  • Make a fire escape plan with your household.