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Staffordshire Fire & Rescue Service - Preventing, Protecting, Responding

Deliberate Wheelie Bin Fires Cause Evacuation

19/09/2012

Around eight apartments had to be evacuated in the early hours of this morning after the deliberate ignition of two wheelie bins caused gas and electricity disruption.

"We will be working closely with Staffordshire Police to bring those responsible to justice."

Station Manager, Mick Jahn

Codsall firefighters were called to Lingfield Grove in Perton at just before 3.00am this morning after smoke alarms in one of the apartments alerted the occupier to the fire.

They raised the alarm with the fire service and on arrival firefighters managed to stop the fire spreading into any of the apartments.

Station Manager, Mick Jahn said: "The wheelie bins were kept in-between two houses and were next to four gas and electricity boxes which also caught fire.

"The houses have been divided into around eight ground and first floor apartments so as a precaution; we evacuated any occupants whilst we awaited the arrival of the gas and electricity engineers.

"Luckily all occupants were safely evacuated and no one was injured thanks to the early warning from working smoke alarms. Had there been no early warning, it is possible the fire would have spread to the houses which could have resulted in people being trapped."

The incident was the second of this nature in the area this morning, with crews having already attended a similar fire just yards away at 1.45am today.

Mick added: "We have reason to believe the same person or persons are responsible for starting both fires. In doing so, they endangered the lives of nearby residents as well as firefighters, who don’t know what has been set on fire within the wheelie bins and items such as aerosols could cause significant injury if they explode.

"We dealt with a very similar incident earlier in the year in Tamworth and the person responsible for that incident has recently been prosecuted and jailed. We will be working closely with Staffordshire Police to bring those responsible to justice."

Anyone with information is asked to ring Staffordshire Police on 101, quoting incident number 33 of 19 September. Alternatively, they can ring independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.