JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Video captured illegal burning of furniture and trash so noticeable that smoke could be seen from blocks away.

It happened on an unseasonably warm and dry Monday afternoon on Mark Avenue in a residential area off Philips Highway near San Marco.

John Addison decided to burn old furniture, wood and other types of trash in his backyard. Little did he realize smoke could be seen from blocks away and flames were visible from the street. He said he’s from upstate New York and had no idea what he was doing was illegal until News4Jax kindly told him.

“Wow. I actually feel kind of silly but thanks to you guys today and the guys coming out, a good lesson learned,” Addison said. 

It happened after a 30-acre wildfire erupted Saturday in Putnam County. Investigators said it started with someone setting furniture on fire to get rid of it, but the flames got out of control.

That’s why, especially with wildfire season in North Florida just around the corner, experts are reminding people that if they’re careless about fire, the consequences could be devastating. 

A Florida Forest Service spokeswoman said people are not supposed to burn any household garbage or furniture — only clean, dry woods. Technically, in Duval County, people are not even supposed to burn yard debris and burning to clear land can only be done with a permit.

According to experts, Monday’s incident could have been a disaster waiting to happen had the fire grown larger, so close to homes. 

“Most people don’t realize that. They say, ‘I got a garden hose here and I’ll be able to control it.’ Well, you might not be able to see that ember that flies two houses down,” said Randy Wyse, president of the Jacksonville Association of Firefighters. “I’ve seen homes that have burned because of an ember dropping into a gutter with dry leaves in it.”

Wyse went on to say firefighters get called to illegal burns almost every week. 

In Monday’s case, firefighters gave Addison a verbal warning about illegally burning trash. 

Copyright 2019 by WJXT News4Jax – All rights reserved.

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