Graham Avenue residents say the recent couch fires are a tradition, but disagree on whether it should change.
The street is best known by Frederictonians for burnt couches and the sounds of fire engines. For years, people have put their furniture on the side of the road and set it on fire, leaving behind the charred remains.
According to Jan Laporte, a St. Thomas University student, so far this school year there have been three couches and one mattress burned.
“I looked out the window. There was a mattress on fire. Cops and fire people came,” she said.
“They put it out and they put the mattress over there. And the landlord of that house had to go get it, dispose of it.”
A student who grew up in the city says there have always been fires on the mostly student-inhabited street.
“Since I’ve been a little kid, they’ve done it here,” he said.
“Yeah, I’m pretty sure it’s a tradition, because my mom used to live here back in the 80s. So I mean, should you really stop tradition?”
But not everyone agrees. Zewen Zhang lives on Graham Street. He thinks that the couch fires could be dangerous. For instance, he worries it could damage the power lines and the surrounding area.
But that doesn’t answer why they do it. Is it just a tradition? Or is it something more? The residents of the street don’t think so. They believe that it all comes down to tradition.
“There’s extra couches and they don’t want to move them, so they put them on the curb,” said one student.
“And people get drunk, and liquor and fire are awesome together.”
“It’s just, Graham always burns stuff. So that’s all I know, that it’s known for burning couches and stuff,” said Laporte.
Some people say the furniture fires are a source of entertainment.
“I’ve never lit one, but I enjoy to watch them,” said one resident.
None of those interviewed admitted to lighting any furniture on fire.
The Fredericton Fire Department was unavailable for comment before the time of print. They posted on Twitter that Graham Avenue’s most recent furniture fire was on Sept 5th.