Discarded chairs, sofas, push risk of arson up

Some residents say piles of garbage in the city's back lanes are a fire hazard.

Betty Beach, pointing to a pile of garbage that started out with a chair in a back lane off Flora Avenue near her home, said it's frustrating.

The mess now includes sofas and some carpetting.

"The brown (sofa) there has only been there for about a month and a half," she said.

"The one underneath it has been there for over a year."

Beach said she called 3-1-1 a number of times, including last week, to no avail.

"They're always very pleasant," she said. "They just don't do nothing."

Mike Babinsky agrees.

The Winnipeg School Division trustee said it could all go up in flames.

"It could be a simple couch burning or somebody's fence or a portion of their garage." he said.

"Or someone's house. I'm scared."

Babinsky said he has reported abandoned furniture at least six different locations.

"3-1-1 basically told me 'Too bad. We're not picking it up.'"

Police said the number of arsons is down from last spring.

Constable Eric Hofley said getting rid of large dumpsters and adding large new recycling carts has helped.

"It seems to have perhaps helped get these items off the sidewalks or backlanes, into these boxes (and) out of sight," he said.

The city said it does see an increase in abandoned garbage at this time of year.

It said it is meeting its standard of collecting it within 10 business days.

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