Action taken on potentially explosive Halloween bonfire in Laois town

Lynda Kiernan

Reporter:

Lynda Kiernan

Bonfire warning .

Illegal and potentially explosive bonfire removed

A potentially explosive bonfire waiting to be set alight in a Laois town has been removed this Thursday, October 29

The bonfire included dumped items that posed health and safety risks, according to Laois County Council's Environment section, including a large fridge freezer which could have exploded when the bonfire was set alight.

There were also mattresses, wheelie bins and furniture thrown on the bonfire.

It was located in Smiths Field in Mountmellick, a parish owned site at the rear of the catholic church, between College Avenue and Kirwan Park housing estates.

Liam Rabbitte is an executive scientist in the Environment section of Laois County Council who removed the bonfire and will separate it for recycling or landfill.

"We removed it under environment and safety grounds. Also people should not be coming together at this time during Covid-19. The fridge could have exploded as it contains compressed gasses. Tyres would give off sulphur which would exacerbate health issues like asthma. The television has heavy metal which is a contaminant. 

"All bonfires are illegal. People use them as an excuse to dump and burn waste," Mr Rabbitte said.

Laois Gardaí also helped to remove the bonfire,  issuing this photo and message.

"On the morning of the 29th October 2020 as part of OperationTombola, a joint operation between the Mountmellick Gardaí and Laois County Council took place targeting the stockpiling of bonfire material in residential areas in the town. A large volume of wooden pallets amongst including a fridge were disposed of. These create environmental issues.

This year more than ever, An Garda Síochána are asking the public not to organise or supply material, given the current Covid-19 situation. We would like to encourage everyone to report stockpiling of bonfire material so we can liaise with the local council and keep residents safe this Halloween."

Local photographer Paul Lalor took this photo of the unlit bonfire on Wednesday morning October 28.

Halloween takes place this Saturday October 30. 

Laois Fire and Rescue Service has issued a warning against bonfires and fireworks ahead of the night.