Firefighters have condemned the mindless action of those who dumped and set fire to large piles of rubbish.
Crews were called twice to a field near Flodden Way, Billingham, shortly after 11pm last night as the fly-tipping, including discarded cardboard delivery boxes and bed frames, was well alight. A fridge freezer had to be pulled away from the danger.
After putting it out in about 40 minutes, the same crew were called back again just after midnight after more rubbish had been added. It took another half hour to bring under control.
Steve Johnson, Area Manager Prevention, said: “This is incredibly irresponsible behaviour. To be called out twice is a complete waste of our resources especially at a time of lockdown when everyone should be working together to support each other. Instead the disrespectful minority are causing damage to our local areas. There is absolutely no excuse for this. Thanks once again to the quick actions of our hard working firefighters we were fortunate that this did not spread further and put property or even lives at risk.
“Not to mention the dangers of setting fire to this type of rubbish – waste such as plastic, foam, paint and tyres causes pollution and releases chemicals when it burns. This is harmful to the environment, and to health, which is a particular issue during this pandemic when many vulnerable people are self-isolating.
“We are now working with Cleveland Police and the Local Authority after securing evidence from the scene. I am sure quick and appropriate action will be taken and hopefully prosecution will follow to show that such mindless disrespect and damage to our local areas and the environment will not be tolerated.
“I would encourage everyone to make a big effort to rid our communities of this fly-tipping and arson problem. Contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 with any information and lets take pride in our local areas”.