FIREFIGHTERS have delivered a stark warning over the dangers of setting light to wheelie bins.

It follows the latest example of an apparent deliberate torching of a 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 had been set on fire at Carterway Heads, just off the A68, on Monday March 21, at 5pm.

Once the flames were safely extinguished crew members handed out Firestoppers leaflets locally.

The Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue Service (CDDFRS) has been keen to get the message across, particularly to young people, of the potential health dangers from setting bins alight.

Rumours that breathing in fumes from burning wheelie bins can give a ‘high’ are believed to have led to a rise in deliberate fires.

CDDFRS has moved to quash those rumours and to give more information on the huge risks that can be posed by breathing in smoke from burning wheelie bins.

The smoke contains a toxic mix of fumes, which means that as few as three breaths could leave someone unconscious.

Suggestions that the fume can lead to a ‘high’ have also been dismissed by the fire and rescue service.

Lee Aspery, who oversees arson reduction and young people in County Durham, said: “There seems to be something on social media where people are saying if you breath in that smoke then you will get high.

“You are not going to get high.

“What you are actually doing is poisoning yourself.

“I can’t stress how dangerous it is for you to breathe in that smoke.

“It contains carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and hydrogen cyanide as well.

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

“So, by taking that wheelie bin and setting fire to it, not only do you take away something that belongs to somebody else and somebody has paid for, you are putting yourself at risk.

“Breathing in that smoke will only end with somebody being injured.”

Read more: Girl speaks out after being left badly burned by bin fire in Durham

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

“We’re aware of reports from the police that some young people have been deliberately setting fire to wheelie bins as a result of these rumours.

“We’re working with CDDFRS to tackle deliberate secondary fires in our communities.

“Residents can help too though.”

She urged people to ensure wheelie bins secure and to leave them out on collection days for as short a period as possible.

“Nobody wants to find their wheelie bin stolen and none of us want to see young people come to harm as a result of this dangerous trend.”

If anyone has information about the arson at Carterway Heads, or similar incidents, they are urged to ring Firestoppers’ hotline, anonymously, on 0800-169 5558.

Reports can also be made online #Firestoppers #HelpUsHelpYou.

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