A new video being produced by the Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service to warn children of the consequences of arson and hoax calls is being filmed in the county ahead of a Summer launch.
Local businesses and service providers have also stepped forward to offer their support to help make the scheme a reality.
The project is being spearheaded by Charlie Cartwright, Watch Manager at Newport Fire Station, who has worked tirelessly to bring the film together.
Support has been provided by such organisations as West Mercia Police, Persimmon Homes West Midlands, Jailhouse Tours, which provided the use of The Dana prison, and Pc Lee Thomas, from the Newport local neighbourhood policing team.
Regional builder Persimmon Homes West Midlands was happy to provide a vacant new home and a showhome at its Newdale development in Lawley, Telford, to act as a set for the film.
Shropshire Fire & Rescue Service’s James Bainbridge, Station Manager (Prevention), said: “A film called Backfire was originally produced in 2001 which looked at the consequences of hoax calls and arson.
“However, it is very outdated, featuring public telephone boxes and outdated service vehicles and was even on VHS, so we decided to remake it and replicate its messages.”
Mr Bainbridge added: “We were very grateful for the assistance of Persimmon Homes and were very lucky to be able to film at Newdale Valley, Lawley. They provided the backdrop for some very dramatic scenes, notably a house fire and the arrest of the young arsonist. They closed the road for us so that service vehicles could get through and we were very pleased to have that facility, as I think we would have struggled without it.
“Charlie has done a tremendous job bringing all the resources together with zero cost to the service, which is important.”
Stephen Cleveley, sales director at Persimmon Homes West Midlands, said: “It’s not every day that you are asked if one of your showhomes can be used as a film location. However, when Mr Cartwright approached us and outlined his ideas, we quickly realised that it would be an invaluable piece of work, and we were delighted to help.”
The video, which will be around 20 minutes long, is aimed at Year 8 pupils and is due to premiere in the Summer before being rolled out across county schools from September.
Madeley Academy, in Telford, was approached to provided young actors for the film, with Year 8 pupil Joe Gazzillo auditioning to land the lead role as the young arsonist who is given detention.
Charlie said: “The support from organisations across the county has been great and we cannot thank them enough. The pupils who took on roles in the film have worked very hard and showed some real talent. It has been a great experience bringing a project together that delivers some hard-hitting messages.”