Couches burn near University of New Brunswick

In Fredericton, furniture blazes are dangerous tradition

It’s a sure sign that students are back at school in Fredericton. The Fire Department has responded to three couch fires since Sunday, Platoon Capt. Jeff Mills, told the Times & Transcript newspaper.

“It’s a joke and it’s fun for someone,” said Mills. “But it’s tying up personnel that could really benefit someone else,” he added.

There was an epidemic of couch fires near Fredericton’s two new universities, the University of New Brunswick and St. Thomas University, in 2007, when 43 furniture fires were recorded on Graham Avenue alone. After the the city created designated days for roadside pick-up of trashed furniture, the total dropped to 17 in 2008 and nine in 2009. Including the three this frosh week, there have been six so far in 2011.

Mayor Brad Woodside offered a message for students after hearing of the fires. “This is your home away from home and live, love, laugh and enjoy,” he said, “[But] respect the community when you’re here, we’ll treat you like family, but treat this like it’s your home as well.”