'It could lead to a tragedy' - Fire chief condemns wheelie bin arson attacks
PUBLISHED: 05:30 16 May 2019 | UPDATED: 06:29 16 May 2019
A chief fire officer has condemned a recent spate of deliberate wheelie bin blazes, stressing the incidents "could lead to a tragedy".
The string of bin blazes in Haverhill happened in the early hours of Wednesday, May 8 - with flames spreading to a nearby garage in one incident.
Firefighters were initially called after an officer from Suffolk police found a wheelie bin ablaze in Clements Close.
Crews were then called out a further six times, with fires reported in Gloucester Road, Greenfields Way, Clarendon Road, Leiston Road and Harewood Terrace.
A further fire then happened in Greenfields Way, while the bin fire in Harewood Terrace spread to a nearby garage and prompted the call-out of two more fire engines to fight the blaze.
Paul Goodman, group commander prevention and protection at Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service, urged people to "consider the implications" of their actions.
He said while firefighters are dealing with incidents of this nature, they are not available for other emergencies.
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"Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service strongly condemn any deliberate fire setting, including the recent spate of bin fires in Haverhill," he said.
"While an appliance is committed to dealing with incidents like this, they are not available for other emergency calls, which could put lives at risk.
"Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service urge these people to consider the implication of their actions, including the damage caused, the cost to the tax payer and the impact on vulnerable persons, for example the elderly and children.
"Fire can grow at an alarming rate, especially in dry conditions. What may start out as a small fire, could lead to a tragedy."
A spokesman for Suffolk police confirmed the force was investigating the arson incidents in the town.
Anyone with information about the fires is asked to call Suffolk police on 101, quoting CAD 16 of May 8.
Alternatively, information can be given anonymously to Crimestoppers by calling 0800 555 111.
Information can also be reported via an anonymous form on the independent crime-fighting charity's website at www.crimestoppers-uk.org