Quiet Guy Fawkes heart­ens fire­fight­ers

Central Leader - - News - By Heather McCracken

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.

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