Rash of garbage tote fires prompts investigation in Niagara Falls

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. (WIVB) — More than a dozen garbage totes have been ignited in Niagara Falls in the month of February alone, prompting officials to investigate the dangerous crime.

Fire officials confirm there have been 13 fires in garbage totes in February, with many fires burning from Whitney Avenue to Forest Avenue between 18th and 24th streets. Fire officials say two fires this past weekend even spread to nearby buildings.

Office of Fire Prevention officials say they’re thankful nobody has been hurt yet, but say any fire can spiral from ember to inferno quickly.

Police aiding in the investigation say anybody found responsible will be charged with arson, and can be charged with fifth-degree arson for simply setting fire to a tote, but could be charged with felony fourth-degree arson for setting fire to a tote that spreads to a building.

Due to the rash of fires, Fire Prevention officials are asking homeowners and renters to keep garbage totes a distance from the side or rear of the home. They’re asking for homeowners to instead keep the totes far away from homes or garages.

While the investigation moves forward, police are asking the public to come forward with information. Anybody with a tip is asked to call (716) 286-4553 or (716) 286-4728.

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