Deliberate night-time street fires hit Barking town centre

Police were called in by emergency fire crews after vandals set light to dumped furniture and rubbish bins in a series of deliberate incidents across Barking during the night.

Barking fire station was called to tackle 10 incidents which began at 1.30am when a bin was torched behind the former police station in the town centre.

Now the Fire Brigade is appealing to householders not to dump furniture in the street which causes a potential public danger.

“We were tackling one blaze when we came across another four,” said fire station watch manager Darren Barnett.

“It went on all night until 4am and we had to alert the police that the fires were being started deliberately.”

The fire-raising diverts essential services and depletes resources on standby to cover real emergencies, the fire authority points out.

Householders are being urged to call the council to have old furniture and household goods removed.

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“The dumping is a temptation to vandals,” Watch Manager Barnett added. “The worst problem is old mattresses being left in the streets.”

The spate of fires spread through the night to the Gasgoine estate where firefighters tackled bins and mattresses alight in Cook Street, Weavers Cross and Dovehouse Mead. Worst affected area was outside Oban House where dumped mattresses had been set on fire.

Now fire crews are damping down abandoned items in the streets even if they’re not alight, such as old mattresses, sideboards and bed-frames, as a routine precaution to reduce fire risk.