7 Nov 2015

Firefighters warn caution after busy night

1:46 pm on 7 November 2015

Firefighters have issued a warning to people planning to let off fireworks tonight after nearly 60 callouts last night.

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Photo: 123rf

Investigators are looking into three serious fires overnight where they suspect buildings were damaged by fireworks, including a fire at a house north of Auckland, a shed in New Plymouth and a school in Upper Hutt.

The Fire Service said most of the other incidents were minor, though two wharves in Wellington and Auckland were damaged as well as a deck at a Hamilton school and two adjoining roofs.

Fire risk management national adviser Todd O'Donoghue said in most cases people were too close to things that can catch fire.

"A couple of the incidents were people who were just clearly being stupid. We are still having people who are firing fireworks out of moving cars and things like that.

"The key is people should always should always light their fireworks in a wide, open area, well away from anything that could catch fire."

So far there have been fewer severe fires than last year but more incidents, Mr O'Donoghue said.

The house north of Auckland, Newplymouth shed and Upper Hutt school were seriously damaged, he said.

"We still need to determine if fireworks were the actual cause, or if there were other factors which may have caused those fires."

A fire investigator would return to Hutt Valley school today in an attempt to determine what sparked a blaze there last night.

Fire crews were called to Upper Hutt College's technical block about 9.40pm, originally to what looked like smoke from fireworks.

It took about half an hour to contain the fire and no one was injured, a spokesman said.

Nationwide for all of November last year, the Fire Service was called to 188 fires from fireworks.

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