Quiet Guy Fawkes heartens firefighters
Tougher fireworks laws and wet weather might have contributed to a trouble-free Guy Fawkes week.
The Fire Service has reported the lowest number of fire callouts since records began in 1996.
Acting national commander Bill Butzbach says there was still some irresponsible use of fireworks, but incidents were isolated.
“Overall we’re encouraged by how Kiwis have heeded the call for a more responsible attitude to fireworks safety,” he says.
Fire crews were kept busy during the weekend, but callouts were still much lower than previous Guy Fawkes weekends. Last year the event was marred by a string of deliberate fires in Auckland.
The Carlton-Cornwall Bowling Club, Sandringham Plunket rooms and an empty Balmoral home were all destroyed in blazes between November 4 and 6.
In the same month arsonists targeted the Akarana Kindergarten, an Avondale playcentre and a caretaker’s cottage in Myers Park.
No major incidents were reported this year, but fireworks were used in a deliberate fire at Mt Roskill Grammar on November 5.
Fire safety officer Russell Dickson says the fire was confined to the exterior wall of a groundsman’s shed.
“Luckily it was spotted quickly by neighbours,” he says. “If it hadn’t been in the view of the public I suspect there would be a lot more damage.”
School principal Greg Watson says the fire caused only minor damage but the shed will need to be repainted.
Police are investigating.