‘It’s scary’: Increased amounts of garbage and thrown out furniture leading to spike in fires

WINNIPEG — Concerns are being raised about an increased amount of bulk waste in Winnipeg after a string of suspicious garbage fires in the city’s West End.

According to the City of Winnipeg, the calls began Tuesday morning, when crews attended a garage fire on Sherbrook Street, where a number of garbage bin fires were burning in the area.

Firefighters were also called to several garbage bin fires on Young Street, and a fire in a vacant house.

One garbage bin fire spread to a 3-storey apartment block in the 700 block of Sargent Avenue.

No injuries were reported in any of the fires and damage estimates weren’t available as of Tuesday.

The Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service said it had responded to a number of calls of garbage on fire over the past week.

“I absolutely have concerns about it,” said Coun. Sherri Rollins, who is the chair of the Standing Police Committee on Protection, Community Services and Parks.

Rollins told CTV News that the bulk waste problem is worse compared to previous years, which she says is partially due to more people living on the streets using mattresses and tents to survive.

“Some of which have been abandoned that they’ve used for a period of time but are no longer using.”

Norm Broesky has been renovating a home near one of the fires and he said he has noticed a lot of garbage and furniture building up.

“It’s scary. Too close to your home,” he said. “That’s what I see and this yard was filled with is, so I cleaned it up to avoid the same thing happening to this property.”

The WFPS said crews do inspections throughout the spring and summer months to search for possible hazards.

They work with local groups such as Take Pride Winnipeg who also help identify and report at risk properties.

“By having more people being the eyes of the Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service certainly helps,” said Tom Ethans, executive director of Take Pride Winnipeg.

Broesky says everyone has to do more to clean up and that includes property owners.

If homeowners want to get rid of bulk waste, they can call 311 to schedule a pickup.

The WFPS is still investigating all the fires.

  

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