Firefighters say factory demolition led to fall in number of blazes

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The demolition of a derelict factory has helped reduce the number of fires in Houghton, firefighters have said.

Blazes in the area between the beginning of February and the end of April are down by a third compared to the same period last year, according to station manager Steve Burdis, of Farringdon Community Fire Station.

Speaking at last night’s (Monday, June 11) Coalfield Area Committee meeting, at the Hetton Centre, in Hetton le Hole, he said a fall from 30 to 20 incidents was ‘mainly due to the demolition of TKT Cosyfoam’, in Lambton Lane.

According to a report prepared for the committee, the site itself was responsible for 10 call outs last year.

However, he also added that since the site was shut down the fire service had started receiving reports of incidents at a nearby scrapyard.

Cosyfoam vacated the factory in August 2016 when it moved to a new base in Washington, after which the site was the responsibility of a landlord.

In March last year firefighters were called to the area twice in two days to deal with fires.

Station manager Burdis’s report concluded: “Although the figures are pleasing to see an overall reduction in the number of incidents across the Coalfields area we need to take into account the inclement weather we suffered in March which saw grassland fires fall from 23 to one in the reporting period.

“We are seeing a rise in the number of calls to allotments and smallholdings for either controlled burning or, more significantly, fires caused by controlled burning getting out of control.

James Harrison

James Harrison , Local Democracy Reporting Service