Waste fires warning after blaze at derelict Sunderland college site

“Think twice” before burning waste – that’s the message from a fire chief after a major blaze at a former college site in Sunderland.

The aftermath of a fire at the old Hylton Campus building of Sunderland College.
The aftermath of a fire at the old Hylton Campus building of Sunderland College.

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS) is one of many emergency services helping to keep people safe during the coronavirus public health crisis.

Despite non-essential community work being suspended, firefighters are continuing to respond to incidents across the region.

A fire broke out at a former Sunderland College building in North Hylton on April 3, with seven fire engines on the scene at the peak of the blaze.

Advertisement

Hide Ad

The fire has since been revealed to be accidental and was caused by “controlled burning” inside the building which got out of hand.

With several vacant buildings and business premises across Tyne and Wear as a result of the Government lockdown to minimise the spread of Covid-19, brigade bosses say it is vital that fire safety measures are maintained.

According to Chief Fire Officer (CFO) for TWFRS, Chris Lowther, both landlords and the public have a role to play.

“The fire in North Hylton was caused by controlled burn that spread to the roof and caused a great deal of damage unnecessarily,” he said.

Advertisement

Hide Ad

“Now is a time for people to remember how easy it is for fires to get out of control, you can’t leave a fire unattended because fire grows really quickly.

“At this time, I would encourage everyone to think twice before burning waste either on business premises or in the garden at home as this could create unnecessary strain on the fire service.

“The fire service should be looking to save lives and that’s what our primary concern is.

“I need help from the public, think again if you’re going to burn waste and if you are, make sure it’s a small amount, make sure you have water and that the fire is not left unattended.

Advertisement

Hide Ad

“Otherwise it could end up like the fire in North Hylton which caused a great deal of damage.”

The fire chief said he had been working closely with the region’s Fire Authority and Sunderland City Council to carry out forecasting to minimise fires across the region.

CFO Lowther said: “Myself and the chair of the Fire Authority have worked closely together and I know I have the support of the politicians of Sunderland City Council which is the lead authority.”

In a message to businesses, he added: “Coronavirus has quite clearly disrupted many working practices and reduced staffing levels for many many businesses – but it’s absolutely vital that fire safety measures are maintained.

Advertisement

Hide Ad

“I would recommend as Chief Fire Officer that all business owners or managers review their risk assessments in light of the Covid-19 public health crisis.”

For more information on fire safety advice, visit: www.twfire.gov.uk

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.

Advertisement

Hide Ad

In order for us to continue to provide high quality and trusted local news on this free-to-read site, I am asking you to also please purchase a copy of our newspaper.

Our journalists are highly trained and our content is independently regulated by IPSO to some of the most rigorous standards in the world. But being your eyes and ears comes at a price. So we need your support more than ever to buy our newspapers during this crisis.

With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our local valued advertisers - and consequently the advertising that we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you helping us to provide you with news and information by buying a copy of our newspaper.

Thank you

Advertisement

Hide Ad

How to subscribe to the print edition

It’s easy to subscribe to your local newspaper. We have arranged a special 20 per cent off subscription offer for people to take advantage of. Visit www.localsubsplus.co.uk, choose the newspaper title, the type of subscription and enter your details.