Firefighters in Cape Breton scrambling to put out garbage fires
Published Saturday, April 13, 2019 5:00PM ADT
Last Updated Saturday, April 13, 2019 7:05PM ADT
It's not only grass fires that are causing concern in Cape Breton.
Now, fire fighters are having to deal with piles of heavy garbage being set ablaze -- and pick-up day is still two weeks away.
It's as much a sign of spring as any in Cape Breton: the annual heavy garbage pickup is underway in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality.
As material piles up curbside, so to do the number of calls firefighters receive.
“Unfortunately it looks like it's going to be another busy year,” said Steve Binder of the Reserve Mines Fire Department.
A pile of garbage was set on fire in Reserve Mines on Friday and fortunately, no one was hurt and the material was far away from houses.
It's what it contained that has fire fighters worried.
“They should use caution what they put out in their heavy garbage,” said Steve Binder. “Propane tanks, any flammable or combustible or explosive material. Be aware of that.”
Heavy garbage set on fire while awaiting curbside pick-up in 2014 destroyed a laundromat in North Sydney.
With pick-up day still a few weeks away, homeowners are being offered advice on how to keep themselves and their properties safe.
“Place (your) materials out neatly and make sure they are not placed closely to their homes or neighbour's homes,” said Roschell Clarke, the CBRM solid waste education co-ordinator.“We actually want the material curbside. The same as you would if you were placing out blue bags and your green carts.”
The garbage will start to be picked up on April 29, and materials should not be placed curbside until the day before to prevent fires or any other damage, but some people are not taking that advice.
“Sometimes, if you put out incorrect materials, like ashes, and they haven't cooled down may lead to a fire in your heavy garbage,” Roschell said.
Propane tanks, tires, paint cans and electronics are not permitted curbside.
Still firefighters face the dangers of these items every year.
“You know, we don't know what's there,” Binder said. “Everything but the kitchen sink is on fire.”
This popular tradition has become dangerous for emergency personnel.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Kyle Moore.