Dumpster Fires in Worcester, Mass., Draw Concern

(NECN: Kristen Caruso, Worcester, Mass.) - A burned out dumpster on Harvard Street was part of a cluster of suspicious fires set Tuesday in Worcester, Mass.

The bin sits outside a law office between two buildings.

Owner Bob Osol says it could have been a lot worse.

“If it was closer to our building or another buildings it could have easily turned into a bigger fire,” Osol said. “We have a lot of records in ours and they do too and it could have caused a major hassle for a lot of people.”

The law office was the first of the five dumpster fires all reported in under an hour.

Firefighters say they were all set in the area around Park Avenue in Worcester.

 “Thankfully, none of the dumpsters were located within an area close enough to a structure to be a hazard,” said Worcester Deputy Fire Chief Geoffrey Gardell.

Gardell says the fires come on the heels of multiple dumpster fires set in the Brook Street area in December.

One building was badly damaged.

“We have been looking at cluster dumpster fires for a while now, at least the last six months, in all different parts of the city, its an alarming thing,” Gardell said.

He says small fires such as these can escalate to the setting of larger fires.

“The excitement level will change and they aren't getting the same satisfaction from a dumpster fire and they move on maybe to a vacant structure,” Gardell said.

Arson teams are now looking at surveillance video.

In the meantime, the fire department is asking that everyone lock their dumpsters to help put an end to these opportunity-type fires.

“The safety of our firefighters fighting these dumpster fires is at risk, there is a hazard with these types of fires, we don't know what is in the dumpsters,” Gardell said.

Osol said they used to lock their dumpsters at night -- something they will start doing once again.

“It is a tedious task, we definitely stopped doing it, we will just have to start again at this point,” Osol said.

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