Be careful placing hot ashes in wheelie bins, warn Eastbourne firefighters

Eastbourne firefighters are warning of the dangers of placing hot ashes in wheelie bins after a fire broke out over the weekend.

The occupant was forced to grab a hose and tackle the blaze himself after hot ashes sparked a fire right next to his home in Willoughby Crescent on Saturday (October 27) at 7.23pm.

One crew were called to the incident and ensured that the fire was completely out and the area made safe.

Incident Commander Alan Birtwistle said, “We would urge residents to place ashes in a metal container, preferably external and away from the house and other out buildings.

“On this occasion the occupant believed that the ashes were cold because the fire had been out for six hours but, in fact, were still hot enough to ignite the wheelie bin and its contents, which was stored up against the side of his house.

“He was very lucky that he discovered the fire in time, plastic wheelie bins burn quite violently and can flare up if you place water on it dependent on contents.

“This should be a warning to others. Don’t under estimate how long the ashes would be hot for and always treat them as being hot.”

Eastbourne’s Borough Commander Dave Sheppard said he also wanted to remind local businesses to store refuse in a safe manner, away from buildings and to consider lockable commercial bins to prevent incidents from occurring.

He recently issued this warning in light of the fire in Uckfield High Street, which destroyed four shops and threatened accommodation.

He said, “What starts as a small fire in a pile of rubbish can quickly escalate to involve nearby buildings and property with devastating effect. Both the fire at the Crumbles and in Uckfield started in refuse that had accumulated and acted as a magnet which some in our community cannot resist.

“I would remind property owners and occupiers of the importance of storing their refuse in a safe manner, away from buildings and consider the use of lockable commercial bins to try and prevent these incidents occurring.”

In the event of a fire East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service always recommends to “get out, stay out and call 999” and not to tackle the fire but to leave it to the professionals.