Discarded barbecue melts bin: fires in Littlehampton and Shoreham spark fire service warning

Firefighters are urging residents to think twice before binning their barbecues after a series of fires involving the disposable grills.

In the first incident of the season on May 27, crews from Littlehampton were sent to Marina Gardens in Beach Road after a bystander saw smoke coming from a public litter bin.

Upon arrival crews extinguished the fire, and soon discovered a discarded disposable barbecue inside the bin.

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A spokesman for West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service said: "The barbecue had not been left to cool properly and the hot coals had ignited the rest of the rubbish. The heat from the fire was so powerful it completely destroyed the plastic rubbish bin."

The fire completely destroyed the bin

Then over the course of the weekend, the retained crew based at Shoreham Fire Station were called out to two further incidents. The first at Kingston Beach near Brighton Road, Shoreham, on Saturday at 6.52pm, and the second at Forthaven, Shoreham Beach, on Sunday at 4.40pm.

On both occasions, disposable barbecues were the cause of the fire.

Nicki Peddle, West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service’s Head of Prevention, said: “When summer arrives, it’s hard to beat a barbecue on the beach. And given this recent period of social distancing, we can completely understand people wanting to get out and make the most of the lovely summer weather.

“But we would just ask that you please think twice before disposing of your barbecue. These single use barbecues are designed to get extremely hot very rapidly, and they take a long time to cool down. Make sure it is extinguished fully and completely cool before taking it anywhere near a bin full of rubbish.

The scene of the fire in Littlehampton

“To avoid starting a fire you should allow it to cool for several hours and even then make sure you pour lots of water over it to make sure it is out before putting it in the bin.

“On each occasion recently, someone was nearby and spotted smoke coming from the bin and we were able to contain the fire, but it wouldn’t take very much in these dry conditions for a fire to spread and get out of control very quickly.”

For more information on where it is permitted to have a barbecue on the beach in Adur & Worthing click here or for Arun click here.

The scene of the fire in Shoreham