Firefighters report child burned by dumped barbecue in Southsea amid push to use designated bins
FIREFIGHTERS and the council are calling on people to safely dispose of barbecues as the warmer weather draws people to the seafront and Southsea Common – with reports already being made of injured children and animals.
The fire service deal with more than 50 barbecue-related incidents between April and September on and around Southsea Common every year.
Now the council and the fire service are bracing for a possible increase in incidents involving barbecues, as easing Covid-19 restrictions and warmer weather draws people to socialise outside.
Fire crews are already receiving reports of injuries sustained due to barbecues carelessly dumped in public, according to Southsea fire station crew manager Chris Norgate.
The firefighter said: ‘We are expecting a large number of people to visit the city this summer.
‘We are asking them to respect others and be responsible.
‘We have anecdotal evidence of dogs and children being burned by barbecues buried under stones on the sea front.
‘Only a few weeks ago, a paramedic told us that a child had fallen over, and he fell on a barbecue partially buried under the stones.
‘He suffered burns up his arm.’
A barbecue fire in 2019 saw a large part of beach scrub land go up in flames along Eastney Esplanade, posing a serious risk to property and tying up firefighting resources, according to Mr Norgate.
The firefighter of 20 years said: ‘Towards the east side of the island we have a lot of dry scrub, and someone had a small bonfire, a small barbecue on the seafront. This had embers go up from their waste, the embers then went on to the brush and that took a great area of the dry wood up.
‘We had two fire engines down here for approximately an hour and half dealing with that.’
Portsmouth City Council have installed a total of 16 barbecue-safe bins on the common, with several placed next to water spouts that are designed for dousing any flaming detritus.
Councillor Ben Dowling, the council’s cabinet member for culture, leisure, and economic development, said: ‘Taking a few simple steps can help reduce the risk of fire or injury and help look after our outside spaces.
‘If you’re planning a get-together in public places, like the seafront, it’s especially important to stick to the dedicated barbecue zones, which have plenty of space and specific barbecue-friendly bins.’