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Urgent warning to Crawley residents after fires from disposable BBQs – watch video

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West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service is issuing an urgent warning to residents this summer after attending a string of fires caused by disposable BBQs.

Firefighters from across the county have been called out over the past couple of weeks to attend a number of fires that have begun after a hot BBQ was put in a bin before it had cooled down.

In many of the incidents, the fire has taken hold and destroyed the bin and the surrounding vegetation.

With another warm weekend forecast, and high temperatures expected into next week and the following weekend, the fire service is urging all residents to take extra care when using disposable BBQs.

Marvin Smith, Station Manager for Arundel, East Preston and Littlehampton, said:

“When we have lovely weather like we have over the past few days, there is nothing better than enjoying a BBQ in the sunshine.

“But unfortunately, disposable BBQs are not without their risks, as we have seen already this summer.

“One of our crews was called out to deal with a fire in a wheelie bin in the early hours of the morning, only to find that a disposable BBQ had been put into the bin before it had fully cooled down. It had been smouldering for a couple of hours, before the whole thing went up.”

To demonstrate just how quickly a disposable BBQ can cause a fire to take hold, WSFRS carried out a controlled burn, placing a disposable BBQ that seemed cool to the touch into an old domestic bin provided by Chichester District Council that had reached the end of its life.

After smouldering away for around half an hour, flames melted their way through the back of the heavy duty plastic wheelie bin.

Marvin added: “Had this actually been someone’s rubbish bin, chances are they would have put their BBQ in the bin at the end of the night and gone to bed and thought nothing more about it, until it was too late.”

WSFRS is urging residents to follow the steps below to ensure they and their families don’t fall victim to fire:

  • Make sure that your BBQ is placed on clear level ground where it will not tip over.
  • Use approved BBQ fuel or firelighters to light it, never petrol or paraffin.
  • Keep BBQs away from the house, shed, fences, garden furniture or overhanging trees and shrubs.
  • Keep children and pets well away from the cooking area.
  • Don’t leave your BBQ unattended at any time.
  • If you are lighting a barbeque in the countryside or on the beach – check beforehand that it is an authorised area.
  • When you have finished cooking, pour copious amounts of water over the BBQ and leave for several hours before disposing in a bin. 

Marvin added: “The Met Office is forecasting that the Fire Severity Index is going to be very high this weekend – this means there is an added risk of wild fires. All it takes is for one spark and with the ground as dry as it is, we could have a large fire on our hands. Please take extra care, the last thing you want is us attending your BBQ.”

For more information visit: https://www.westsussex.gov.uk/fire-emergencies-and-crime/west-sussex-fire-and-rescue-service/home-fire-safety/seasonal-safety-advice/

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Crawley vows to keep children fed as towns council looks to continue support over Christmas

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The extent of the backlash from Crawley residents to the recent voting down of a motion to keep school children fed over the half term has been both vocal and wide spread.

Their governments response appears to have completely missed the publics feeling at this disastrous time with a pandemic obliterating the life we all knew only months ago.

But Crawley has decided it will not just stand by and allow anyone to suffer.

Restaurants, charities and even social media groups across the town have pledged to do whatever they can to support children who are in need of support and who could possible go hungry without help.

Two examples of restaurants helping are The Master Fryer in Pound Hill and La Rusta in the town centre.

Master Fryer in Pound Hill is providing sausage and chips to every pupil in need.

The Master Fryer on Pound Hill Parade is one of the towns restaurants helping out.

They have pledged to feed very single school child in need next week with a sausage and chips. From Monday 26th and for the rest of the half term any school child who is in need of meal can turn up without fear or judgement to received their meal.

Owners Peter Huzzey & Barry Swan made the decision after hearing the motion had been voted down.

Peter Huzzey said:

“We saw that the government had voted down extending school meals, so we wanted to step up and do something about it.

I know a lot of people are struggling at the moment and we want to help out as much as we can and we are really pleased that we can do something, we just hope we don’t run out of sausages”

La Rusta packed Lunch

La Rusta in the town centre is providing packed lunches consisting of ham or cheese sandwich with fresh fruit and drink Monday 26th to Friday 30th October.

One of the towns well known social media pages, Spotted Crawley on facebook has already started a voucher scheme where followers can donate money for voucher cards allowing families to then be able to buy food.

Owner Dan said:

“After hearing of the vote on Wednesday, and the reaction which followed, it was clear that there would be a need out there this half term. The response to our appeal has been overwhelming and we’ve provided 64 vouchers to families so far. With the support of local businesses and the public of Crawley, no child will go hungry this half term”

But many more are also involved including charities and even individuals with one Crawley mum spending the whole weekend cooking and baking meals ready to hand them out next week.

And residents and businesses are reminded they can also donate to local groups such as The Easter Team, Open House and Giving Back Crawley, who run local foodbanks.

Official figures say that over 2,500 children across the town qualify for free school meals although it is thought the figure is now much higher now following jobs losses due to Covid-19.

But whilst the towns support is welcome there is an even larger problem only two months away, something the towns council leader wants to be able to do something about.

Crawley Council Leader Peter Lamb said that he and his colleagues had been working none-stop to try to solve the problem over half term, but with only a couple of days notice it was proving almost impossible.

Mr Lamb added that the show of support from the Crawley community was heart warming but that the council had to do more and promised they were ‘preparing to ensure no child goes hungry over Christmas’.

But Mr Lamb added that the money required to be able to do this just did not exist and that help from the community would be required to make it happen.

Mr Lamb said:

“The reality is that local authority finances have been decimated by COVID-19 and both local councils are having to make big cuts in order to keep running, meaning we will need the crowdfunding from the local community to help finance these meals and we hope to be able to use a pot of dedicated funding Crawley BC can access to provide a level of match-funding.

I would certainly hope that large local businesses who have recently made many local parents redundant might consider what support they can afford to provide.”

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