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Sheppey wheelie bin fires put lives in grave danger

Sheppey wheelie bin fires put lives in grave danger

14 October 2018

Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) was called to reports involving a series of wheelie bin fires in the early hours of Sunday 14 October 2018 in Minster on the Isle of Sheppey.

Fire service control received a number of calls to nine incidents at addresses covering a distance of around two miles. KFRS was alerted to the first fire at 4:33am and fire crews left the scene of the last fire at 6:04am. Firefighters returned to the addresses later in the morning to help reassure the families affected and their neighbours by offering Safe and Well visits.  

The locations involved included:

  • Salmon Crescent – a wheelie bin fire caused one property to suffer fire heat and smoke damage. Overhanging porch soffits and fascia boards melted along with guttering. Smoke damage was caused to the face of the home. The occupiers weren’t at home but neighbours helped gain access through use of a spare key.

  • Appleford Drive – a wheelie bin fire caused one property to suffer fire heat and smoke damage which included overhanging porch soffits and fascia boards melting along with guttering. Smoke damage was caused to the face of the home.

  • Mills Close – one wheelie bin was set on fire on the pavement

  • Minster Road – two wheelie bins were set on fire near houses and one wheelie bin was set on fire outside a hair salon. One home suffered damage to a bay window which smashed and melted. Occupants were woken by smoke entering the upstairs open window which activating their smoke alarm.

  • Queenborough Road – Wheelie bins near two properties were set on fire; one property suffered heat and smoke damage to the outside, whilst the other escaped damage. 

In all incidents firefighters used hose reel jets and breathing apparatus to extinguish the fires and a thermal imaging camera to check there were no hidden seats of fire at each property, and to make sure the fires were fully extinguished.

Sheppey Fire Station Watch Manager, Andy Bridger-Smart said: “The lives of people sleeping in their beds, including children and pensioners at a number of properties in our community were put in grave danger today. We are working with Kent Police as part of the joint investigation.

“Sheppey crews have been supporting people whose property was affected by carrying out Safe and Well visits in their homes and businesses to make sure they are safe, and firefighters have been helping to give reassurance by fitting new smoke alarms.”

Kent Police have issued a statement:

Officers are appealing for information following a series of bin fires on the Isle of Sheppey.

A number of wheelie bins were deliberately set alight in the Minster area, during the early hours of Sunday 14 October 2018.

Kent Police is working with Kent Fire and Rescue Service to investigate fires reported in Appleford Drive, Salmon Crescent, Mills Close, Minster Road and Queenborough Road.

Sergeant Tom Mepstead said: ‘No one was hurt in any of the incidents; however I would like to reassure residents we are working hard to identify the person or individuals responsible. Our officers are conducting house to house enquiries and we will be reviewing and analysing any potential CCTV and forensic evidence. If you saw anything suspicious please don’t hesitate to contact us.’

Anyone with information is asked to call the Kent Police appeals line on 01795 419119, quoting reference 14-0315. Alternatively you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers in Kent anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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