Trash hinders firefighters - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Trash hinders firefighters

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By Jim Wallace - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) –   Illegal trash dumps pose hazards to the community and public safety workers. Albany firefighters had to contend with burning trash piles as they fought a brush fire Monday. 

County officials say these dumps are dangerous to everyone, and they need the community's help to stop illegal dumping.

Illegal dumps have become so plentiful that they have gone from being an eyesore to being a hazard to community health. Firefighters battling a fast moving brush fire Monday had to contend with smoldering piles of tires and dumped furniture.

As the brush fire raged just off the railroad tracks between Mobile Avenue and Cason Street, firefighters had to put out flaming piles of roofing shingles and tires. The Georgia Forestry Commission tractor went in and out of piles of dumped furniture to dig firebreaks. The scene was a nightmare for the first responders. 

"The unknown aspects of people's discarded trash, you never know what's in it. So you have to treat it with precautions,"  said Albany Fire Chief James Carswell.

And just yards away smoke from that burning trash was blowing over residents of a mobile home park by those woods. Illegal dumping creating a health hazard for that community.

"Undoubtedly some of the commercial vendors. We have roofing materials, yard debris. That's obviously put out here by commercial endeavors,"  said Judy Bowles Keep Albany Dougherty Beautiful Exec. Director.

Bowles said illegal dumping is nothing new, but it is a continuing problem that extends throughout the community, endangering everyone in one way or another. For the firefighters, it is a real hazard that threatens their lives. So county officials are asking you to help in the fight against illegal dumping.

"If you see somebody going down a dirt road and they have a pickup truck load or a car load of debris, and they come out and it's empty. You need to call and report that," said Bowles.

The fine for illegal dumping can be up to $1200 plus jail time. Judges have even sentenced offenders to clean a one square mile area around where they dumped. And city and county officials say illegal dumping is really a senseless crime.

Public works will pick up almost any household trash free, even old tires and furniture, if you call and arrange a pickup date. You don't have to haul it down in the woods, they'll pick it up at your curb for free.

You can get information on that free curbside pickup by calling 311 in Albany. You can also use that number to report illegal dumping.


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