Safety fears after second bin blaze at sheltered accommodation

Durham Court, Hebburn, resident Peter Tallack with the fire damaged recycling point
Durham Court, Hebburn, resident Peter Tallack with the fire damaged recycling point

A concerned resident is calling for action to be taken after a second bin blaze outside a high-rise sheltered accommodation block in the space of a month sparked safety fears.

Firefighters were called out to Durham Court in the early hours of Thursday after a communal recycling container outside the flats was set alight.

I am all for recycling - but people’s safety has to be put first

Peter Tallack

The cause of the blaze is not known at this stage.

But Durham Court resident Peter Tallack is calling for the recycling bins location to be moved – as he fears it is a target for firebugs.

Mr Tallack, 69, said: “I was awoken by the smoke at about 11.50pm.

“A passer-by phoned 999 and said he saw a gang of youths throwing things in the bin. The wind picks up the smoke and swirls it to all the rooms in the flat. It is becoming a danger and is a safety issue.

“I would like to see the recycling bins moved to a different location.

“I am all for recycling – but people’s safety has to be put first.

“It is a worry as we also have no wardens at the flats due to cutbacks, so there is nothing to stop someone coming up to a recycling bin and setting it on fire.”

The complex is home to residents aged 50 and over, including many pensioners.

Mr Tallack says fire crews were first called at 11.50pm after the bin was spotted alight – and were called back an hour later when the heat of the bin caused it to catch fire for a second time.

He says fire crews were also called out to another recycling bin blaze at Durham Court just a month ago.

Mr Tallack added; “I have spoken to council officers and to the fire service about whether the recycling bins could be moved. Health and safety has to be paramount.”

A spokesman for South Tyneside Council and South Tyneside Homes, said: “Bin fires can be extremely dangerous and can quickly spread to properties in the vicinity.

“Thankfully no one was hurt in this instance.

“We take the issue of safety very seriously and we will be considering what action may be necessary to reduce the risk of this happening in future.”