Where applicable, we publish responses to requests under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. This one, , is detailed below.


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Freedom of Information

Published on 6 April 2020

Ref: FOI/20030


West Midlands Fire Service has now completed its search for the information requested on 17th March 2020

Please find below a summary of our findings.


I am writing to you under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 to request the following information from West Midlands Fire Service at an incident level between 01/01/2015 to 31/12/2019 to help me research into arson rates:

  1. Date of incident – between 01/01/2015 to 31/12/2019
  2. Location of Fire – Gridded References preferred
  3. Unitary Authority
  4. Fire Type – Accidental/Deliberate
  5. Property Category – Residential (Dwelling)/Non-Residential/Other Residential/Outdoor/Outdoor Structure/Vehicle and all other categories etc.
  6. Property Type – Flat/House/Cinema/Health Center/Barn and all other property types etc.
  7. Primary/Secondary
  8. Incident Category – Special Service/Fire etc.
  9. Main Cause of Fire
  10. Alarm system: Whether a smoke alarm was present and if it operated
  11. Ignition power: What powered the ignition of the fire
  12. Source of ignition: The source of ignition for the fire
  13. The type of room/compartment the fire started in
  14. Item Ignited: The item/material that was ignited first
  15. Item causing spread: The item/material that was mainly responsible for the spread of the fire
  16. Fatality/casualty: Whether the incident involved a fatality or casualty
  17. Rescues: Whether the incident involved a rescue
  18. Evacuations: The number of people evacuated from the dwelling
  19. Evacuations code: A code to help users analyse data
  20. The total horizontal area damaged by the flame and heat (sq. m) at the stop of the fire.
  21. Fire damage extent code: A code to help users analyse data
  22. The total horizontal area damaged by the flame, heat, smoke and water (sq. m)
  23. Total damage extent code: A code to help users analyse data
  24. The extent of fire when the incident was closed
  25. Whether an adjacent property was affected by the fire by the close of the incident.


Please see attached.

The grid references related to the location of incidents is exempt under section 40(2) of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 related to personal data.  By disclosing this information at such a granular level and combining with other information available could identify individuals in contravention of the Data Protection Act 2018.  We also have to consider Article 8 of the Human Rights Act 1998 in relation to the right to respect for private and family life and therefore we exercise care when publishing data that might relate to a persons dwelling. The data is generalised to lower super output areas (LSOA) and more details about this geography can be found on the website of the Office of National Statistics.

Please note that neither West Midlands county or its constituent local authorities are unitary authorities

Please note I’ve numbered all the answers with the spreadsheet so they can match them to the questions (some questions have two columns).

If you have any queries about this freedom of information request, please contact us.  Please remember to quote the reference number above in any future communications.

For service complaints, issues or comments regarding this request please contact The Public Relations Department, West Midlands Fire Service, 99 Vauxhall Road, Birmingham, B7 4HW

Further information concerning Freedom of Information requests can be found on the Information Commissioner website at either the following link: https://ico.org.uk/ or at Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, SK9 5AF.

Please note: Due to a migration and ensuring the accessibility of our policies and documents where possible, not all documents referenced in our FOI's are available. If you require a copy of a document referenced in our FOI's which is not linked below or is in a format that is not accessible to you, please email contact@wmfs.net.