A fire at an outside storage area near West Bicester Community Centre last night, Tuesday, is believed to be arson.
Shortly before 11.20pm, firefighters from Biceter and Rewley Road, Oxford, were called to reports of a building on fire in the town centre.
On arrival crews were faced with a rapidly escalating fire involving an outside storage area consisting of rubbish bins and other combustibles well alight, which was starting to spread to the eaves and roof of West Bicester Community Centre.
Crews put out the external fire and removed parts of the roof to make sure any fire was fully extinguished so it didn’t affect the inner roof of the building.
These actions stopped the fire spreading any further, limiting the destruction to the fabric of the building and saving any significant damage to property inside.
As the cause of the fire is believed to be suspicious, Thames Valley Police also attended and are currently conducting an investigation.
If anyone has any information about this fire they can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at crimestoppers-uk.org. No personal details are taken, information is not traced or recorded and you will not go to court.
Crew manager Pete Mackay, from Bicester Fire Station, said: “Our initial firefighting attack and swift access to the building gave us the opportunity to prevent significant damage, hopefully allowing the occupants an early return”.
Group manager Stuart Garner, fire protection and business safety manager for Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue Service said: “It is important that businesses understand how dangerous it can be to keep wheelie bins too close to buildings. The rubbish in them can often be easily ignited and it can burn very quickly. Flames can rapidly spread to the nearby building, endangering lives, causing damage or in some cases totally destroying property. I would urge all business operators to look closely at how they both store and dispose of waste to prevent fires spreading”.
Tips for preventing fire include not overfilling wheelie bins or placing loose rubbish around them; not storing rubbish or wheelie bins/refuse containers by windows or doors; not placing hot items in the bin; placing wheelie bins in a secure compound separated from the building.