South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue (SYFR) has welcomed the jail terms handed to two people for flouting environmental laws after a fire at an illegal tyre dump in Mexborough.
At the height of the blaze, at White Lea Grove on June 28, 2010, around 60 firefighters were at the scene and scores of homes had to be evacuated due to safety fears.
Around 12,000 tyres caught fire, causing smoke to be seen miles and miles away from all areas of Barnsley. Fire crews were at the scene until July 7.
The incident cost SYFR around £300,000 to deal with, as thousands of litres of foam had to be brought in from outside of the county in order for firefighters to douse the flames.
Last month Jane Hopkins of Ewood Drive, Cantley and David Squire of Cecil Avenue, Warmsworth, were both jailed for nine months for numerous breaches of environmental health laws. They admitted operating the dump without an Environmental Permit and keeping tyres in a manner likely to cause pollution.
SYFR’s Area Manager Dave Kiddy said: “As well as the environmental risks posed by this incident, the fire also threatened nearby residential properties and took up a significant proportion of our resources for several days.
“Tyre fires by their very nature are extremely difficult to deal with and carry a numbver of different risks.
“It is absolutely right that businesses or individuals who deliberately ignore the laws which are there to protect the evironment are held to account.”
Meanwhile, the SYFR are also urging people to heat their homes with care, and look out for the elderly, as part of their ‘Safe and Warm’ winter strategy.
Close to 200 house fires started accidentally in each of the last two winters, around a 20% hike compared to the warmer summer months.
And with energy price prices over the last two years squeezing many people’s post-Christmas pockets, the SYFR are concerned that some may be driven to heat their homes less safely.
The advice offered by the SYFR includes:
Heaters: keep heaters away from curtains and furniture and never use them to dry clothes.
Open fires: use a fire guard to protect against flying sparks and make sure embers are properly extinguished before going to bed.
Electric blankets: never use hot water bottles in the same bed as an electric blanket, even if it is switched off.
Candles: never leave naked flames unattended and only put them on heat resistant surface.
For more information on staying safe in the home during wintry weather, visit www.syfire.gove.uk or Twitter @syfr