Firefighters warn young people of the dangers of burning wheelie bins

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FIREFIGHTERS have issued a stern warning of the dangers of putting lights on wheelie bins.

It follows the latest example of an apparent deliberate burning of a rubbish bin, in a more rural location than usual, near the Durham/Northumberland county boundary.

Red Watch from Consett Fire Station attended the incident in which a wheelie bin was set on fire in Carterway Heads, just off the A68, on Monday March 21 at 5pm.

After the flames were safely extinguished, team members distributed fire leaflets locally.

The Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service (CDDFRS) have been keen to get the word out, especially to young people, about the potential health hazards of bin fires.

Rumors that breathing in the fumes from burning wheelie bins can give a “high” have reportedly led to an increase in deliberate fires.

The CDDFRS has decided to quash these rumors and provide more information on the enormous risks that can be posed by inhaling smoke from burning wheelie bins.

The smoke contains a toxic mixture of vapors, which means that just three breaths can leave a person unconscious.

Suggestions that the fumes can lead to a “high” have also been dismissed by fire and rescue services.

Lee Aspery, who oversees County Durham Arson and Youth Reduction, said: ‘There seems to be something on social media where people are saying if you breathe in that smoke you’ll get high.

“You’re not going to get high.

“What you are doing is poisoning yourself.

“I cannot stress how dangerous it is for you to breathe in this smoke.

“It also contains carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and hydrogen cyanide.

“Three breaths is all it takes, less than 15 seconds, and you could be unconscious.

“So by taking this wheelie bin and setting it on fire, not only are you taking away something that belongs to someone else and that someone paid for, but you’re putting yourself in danger.

“Breathing in this smoke will only end up hurting someone.”

Read more: A girl speaks out after being badly burned by a Durham bin fire

Karen Gardner, Safer Neighborhoods Manager for County Durham Housing Group, said: ‘We fully share the concerns raised by the fire service.

“We are aware of police reports that some youths deliberately set wheelie bins on fire as a result of these rumours.

“We are working with the CDDFRS to fight deliberate secondary fires in our communities.

“Residents can help too.”

She urged people to secure wheelie bins and leave them outside on collection days for as short a time as possible.

“No one wants their wheelie bin stolen and none of us want to see young people suffer because of this dangerous trend.”

If anyone has any information about the Carterway Heads arson, or similar incidents, please call the Firestoppers hotline, anonymously, on 0800-169 5558.

Reports can also be made online #Firestoppers #HelpUsHelpYou.

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