Peterlee area hit with a spate of fires as crews attend 21 blazes in 30 days
The Eden Hill area of Peterlee has seen an increase in fires related to fly-tipping and loose refuse in recent months, fire chiefs have said.
In the 30 days leading up to April 20, crews have dealt with 21 fires in the North East Industrial Estate area, prompting a warning from fire chiefs.
The blazes, described as “secondary deliberate fires” are connected to fly-tipping and loose refuse and incidents have been on the rise in recent months.
Chris Williams, Divisional Manager North for County Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service said: "Our crews across the Service are regularly called to fires involving fly-tipping and loose refuse.
"The Eden Hill area and, notably, the North East Industrial Estate have seen an increase in recent months.
Mr Williams added: "It is deliberate fire setting, it is a criminal offence and people will be prosecuted. It’s basically a blight on the community.
"People live around this area and that’s what they’re faced with.”
The secondary fires could consume up to half of the station’s resources, potentially making it challenging to respond to more serious incidents.
Mr Williams said: "There’s two fire engines at Peterlee and at least one is sent to tackle these fires.
"Usually 50% of resources are tied up attending these secondary fires, which obviously leaves far less resources should we get a house fire.
"We will get to it just as quickly, but it will take us longer to get more appliances there.”
He added: "Not only do these deliberate fires put individuals at risk and reduce our ability to respond effectively to life risk incidents, but the costs are also borne by your public services and are a blight on local communities.
"You can help us reduce these type of incidents by reporting fly-tipping to your local authority.”
Mr Williams has said the fire service is “working closely with the Local Authority and Police partners to identify offenders”, with a number of “heavy fines for fly-tipping” already given out by the courts.
if you have any information in relation to the fires, call Firestoppers anonymously on 0800 1695558 or report online at www.firestoppersreport.co.uk.