Fire crews have been called out twice in one night to tackle blazes started by gangs of reckless youths burning tyres in Coalisland.
Toxic fumes were released by the fires and disaster narrowly averted when one of the blazes threatened a nearby domestic oil tank.
The incidents, which took place on Wednesday night in the Lineside area and on the Washingbay Road, have led to fears that the anti-social behaviour will escalate in the run-up to Halloween.
Fire appliances were deployed from Dungannon Fire Station, and the incidents are being treated as arson. Councillor Joe O’Neill accused the youths of endangering lives.
“I would just like to get a message across to these young lads with Halloween just a few weeks away. I can’t stress enough the dangers of burning tyres with all the toxic fumes that come off the tyres and in one of these areas a tyre was lit close to a resident’s oil tank, which is complete madness in my opinion.”
The Sinn Fein representative warned that the incident had potentially diverted emergency services from dealing with other life-threatening incidents.
“I would ask that parents highlight the dangers of this behaviour to their children. I also want to bring it to the attention of tyre garage owners and farmers to keep their stock of tyres locked up especially in the run up to Halloween.”
The councillor said he wanted all local children to enjoy the Halloween period. “There are a lot of local activities happening so why not get involved in helping out in your local community”, he said.