Un­usual call­outs for fire­fight­ers

South Waikato News - - NEWS - By PET­RICE TARRANT

From birds stuck in chim­neys to vi­cious arsonists, South Waikato’s fire­fight­ers dealt with it all in 2013.

Another year has passed for the dis­trict’s vol­un­teer fire­fight­ers and things are look­ing up for the rest of 2014.

Toko­roa fire chief Dave Mor­ris said a pos­si­ble wet­ter end to sum­mer would be good news for those dressed in over­alls.

The num­ber of call outs over sum­mer is al­ready slightly up on last year’s with 31 in De­cem­ber com­pared to 29 dur­ing the same pe­riod last year.

That was in­dica­tive of the whole year with Toko­roa vol­un­teers at­tend­ing 338 call outs in 2013 as op­posed to 308 in 2012.

‘‘The only real large fire that we at­tended was an old build­ing fire in Man­gakino.’’

He said there was a high num­ber of house fires in Toko­roa – 35 – all caused by ei­ther ar­son, unat­tended cook­ing or chil­dren play­ing with matches.

‘‘Prob­a­bly the most un­usual fire calls that we had dur­ing the year was to birds stuck in chim­neys and leak­ing hot wa­ter cylin­ders.’’

Mean­while Pu­taruru fire­fight­ers at­tended al­most dou­ble the num­ber of call outs.

Chief Graeme Hoole said al­though it felt qui­eter the num­bers show they re­sponded to 15 in­ci­dents in 2013 com­pared to eight in 2012.

‘‘The big­gest calls we at­tended would be two mo­tor ve­hi­cle ac­ci­dents where we had to ex­tri­cate peo­ple from the ve­hi­cles us­ing our hy­draulic res­cue equip­ment.’’

He warns res­i­dents to take care as we move fur­ther into sum­mer.

‘‘With the weather get­ting hot­ter, no out­side fires un­less you have a per­mit. If you do light a fire and no per­mit and the brigade at­tends, your fire would be put out im­me­di­ately.’’

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