Fireworks cause havoc in Western Bay

By Genevieve Helliwell


Fire crews throughout the Western Bay were kept busy last night putting out deliberately lit and accidental fires caused by fireworks.

Crews from Greerton, Omokoroa, Maketu, Mount Maunganui, Waihi and Papamoa were called to eight fire calls last night, the majority caused by fireworks.

Maketu Volunteer Fire Brigade crew spent more than two hours battling a large shelterbelt blaze on State Highway 33 in Paengaroa.

The fire, which took hold just after 8.30pm, measured about 70 metres long, said fire chief Shane Beech.

"The shelterbelt caught fire because of fireworks and it was a pretty major one,'' he said.

"It took the guys about two and a half hours to put it out.''

A fire truck from Maketu and Te Puke, as well as a tanker from Te Puke were required to put out the blaze.

Mr Beech said the shelterbelt had "accidentally'' caught alight while fireworks were being let off.

He said the fire was in a rural area and there was one property nearby but it wasn't affected.

Volunteer crew from Omokoroa Fire Brigade spent just over an hour putting out a large fire at the end of Plummers Point Rd, Whakamaramara about 9.20 last night.

Northern Fire Communications shift manager Scott Osmond said the fire was caused by fireworks.

"That was a shelterbelt fire down the end near the wharf. It was quite big and was a way down in the estuary,'' he said.

"It was about 20 metres by 20 metres and that was in relation to fireworks.''

Meanwhile Mount Maunganui Fire Brigade were kept busy with two call outs last night _ one to a bonfire and the other to a clothing bin that had been set alight.

Greerton Fire Brigade also dealt with two minor rubbish fires last night.

A spokesperson said one call out involved rubbish burning in a person's backyard and the other was a cardboard box on fire on the side of the road.

Around the upper north island, fire crews were called to about 360 jobs last night, Mr Osmond said.

While it was a lot of calls, Mr Osmond said fortunately none were "major'' incidences.

Tauranga police Senior Sergeant Glenn Saunders said there were no major police call-outs last night and everyone was well behaved with their fireworks.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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