‘We’re not going to tolerate any arson’: Cleveland Fire Brigade clamp down on wheelie bin fires in Hartlepool
Fire chiefs have vowed to clamp down on deliberate rubbish fires in Hartlepool and are specifically targeting wheelie bin blazes.
It comes after Cleveland Fire Brigade officers said they have seen an increase in deliberate secondary fires in Hartlepool, which are those involving the likes of rubbish and grass.
Cleveland Fire will be raising awareness of wheelie bin fires in the Manor House ward next week as part of arson awareness week, before looking at other areas where they increasingly see issues.
Figures from the Safer Hartlepool Partnership strategic assessment 2018 showed there was 461 deliberate secondary fires in the town last year, a 13% increase since the previous year.
Headland and Harbour saw the most incidents with 87, while 82 took place in Manor House, 71 in Seaton and 70 in De Bruce.
However Manor House saw eight wheelie bin fires during the period, with no other ward seeing more than three incidents.
Burn Valley and Foggy Furze saw the lowest number of total incidents, with just 16 in each.
Darren Lane, community liaison officer for Cleveland Fire Brigade, added they would also be looking to speak to school pupils, especially at secondary schools, and residents in the area.
He said: “Deliberate fires are something that Cleveland Fire Brigade are trying to clamp down on, we’re trying to get the message out there that we’re not going to tolerate any arson.
“Wheelie bin fires are becoming more and more of a risk just because of what they are made out of.
“We’re going to be looking at educating the residents to try and inform them to hide their wheelie bins out of sight, out of mind and put them out day of collection, and get them back in as soon as they can.
“We’re targeting the schools within the areas to get our message across about the dangers.
“We need to talk to everyone and let them know the dangers of setting fires and what can potentially happen.
“By setting fires to wheelie bins or starting fires in one area you’re taking our resources away from an emergency in another area.”
He also encouraged people to secure their wheelie bins as it can reduce the risk of having to buy a new one due to damage.
The latest figures show Cleveland has seen over 2,000 deliberate rubbish fires since April, with roughly around 250 involving wheelie bins.
Mr Lane also added they are encouraging people to take household rubbish to the Burn Road recycling centre instead of fly-tipping the waste, which could attract more fires.
He said: “We’re trying to get the message across about the waste recycling plant at Burn Road, you can still take household recycling free of charge, I’m not sure everyone is aware of that, we need to get that message across.
“We need to try to speak to communities and residents to work together and to report fly-tipping as soon as it happens.”
Nic Marko , Local Democracy Reporting Service