Man who lit fire in Mongolian tent busted by anti-smog cops

Kraków cops were surprised to find a man sitting by a fire in a Mongolian tent. Straż Miejska Miasta Krakowa/Facebook

Kraków cops had the surprise of their lives when they turned up to investigate a suspected case of illegal stove burning – and found a man sitting by a fire in a Mongolian tent.

Officers had been called to the location after residents reported seeing black smoke billowing into the air.

Kraków has struggled with one of the worst cases of smog in Poland, partially due to its landform and common use of dated furnaces. 

When cops arrived they found an employee of the local Mongolian Culture Centre next to the raging furnace.Straż Miejska Miasta Krakowa/Facebook

To combat toxic air in the city, since 2019 it has been forbidden to burn solid fuels like coal or wood and residents are encouraged and subsidized to replace their old, coal boilers.

But when cops arrived they found an employee of the local Mongolian Culture Centre next to an old furnace with a huge chimney sticking out of the top of the yurt.  

Posting on Facebook, the police said: “We are used to the fact that when we check Kraków's hearths we visit houses, arbours and tenement buildings but not ... yurts.

The yurt, or ‘ger’ as it is known in Mongolia, was built in 2018 and belongs to the Mongolia Culture Centre.tcfhub.pl

“Today an inhabitant reported smoke in the area of 29 Listopada Alley. What a surprise it was for the guards when they saw... a Mongolian tent on Nad Struga Street and a furnace type stove with fire burning.” 

“The following intervention was quite standard, as it turned out it was wood burning in the stove, and the Pole who did it knows perfectly well the provisions of the anti-smog resolution, but forgot about them.

“He was reminded about them by the 300 zloty fine.” 

Centre director Tomasz Żybula (R) said: “It was caused by a mistake and unawareness of the employee who came in for the first time this year and lit a fire in this unfortunate stove.”tcfhub.pl

Tomasz Żybula, the director of the centre, told TVN24: “I apologize to the inhabitants of Kraków and everyone that this happened.

“It was caused by a mistake and unawareness of the employee who came in for the first time this year and lit a fire in this unfortunate stove.”

Officers had been called to the location after residents reported seeing black smoke billowing into the air from a huge chimney sticking out of the top of the yurt.Straż Miejska Miasta Krakowa/Facebook

He added that the yurt is used only occasionally as a meeting place for the local community of about 80 Mongols living in Kraków. 

According to the director, the reaction of the city guards deserves praise: “The whole event lasted 20 minutes, so great respect for the city services for such quick and efficient action.

The centre has said it will now change its old wood furnace for a new electric heater.Straż Miejska Miasta Krakowa/Facebook

“I agree with the fine, these are the rules, and the rules have to be obeyed.” 

The centre has said it will now change its old wood furnace for a new electric heater.