Fire chiefs are urging parents in South Tyneside to educate their children on the dangers of blazes ahead of Bonfire Night.
Crews from South Shields Fire Station were called to a fire in Westcott Road, West Harton, at midnight on Monday.
A sofa, which had been dumped in the back lane, was torched and the flames spread to the back gate and wheelie bin, belonging to the flat.
Nobody was hurt during the blaze, but officers say this could have been avoided.
They’re now hoping the public will play their part in helping to reduce nuisance blazes, which traditionally increase on the run up to November 5.
Neil Anderson, crew manager at South Shields Fire Station, said: “This was an avoidable fire, which could have been a lot worse. As it was it led to someone’s property being severely damaged - this was due in part to the irresponsible flytipping of a sofa.
“Traditionally, the run up to Bonfire Night is when we see an increase in Anti-Social Behaviour fires. We really need your help and support to help reduce the ASB fire risk.
“If you are planning to celebrate Bonfire Night, please go to an organised display.”
“If anyone suspects that their children might be getting involved in these extremely risky activities, please talk to them – one day it may be one of their family we need to save.”
Mr Anderson is hoping residents can help limit the number of nuisance fires by following a few safety tips.
These include only putting wheelie bins out on the morning of collection, not stockpiling large piles of waste outside of their properties and making arrangements to have large items, like mattresses and sofas, collected.
Mr Anderson said: “Deliberate fires are dangerous for those that set them, the people they are with and the surrounding area.
They can also escalate very quickly into something even more dangerous. We naturally respond to these fires, but they take us away from other emergencies.”