Fireworks blamed for death of dog

File photo / NZ Herald
File photo / NZ Herald

Emergency services has a relatively quiet Guy Fawkes night, with a drop in the number of Fire service call-outs, but fireworks are being blamed for the death of a Palmerston North dog.

Emergency services reported relatively few incidents over the weekend as people flocked to public fireworks displays throughout the country or celebrated at their homes.

But the festivities were marred by small fires, children suffering burns, a random fireworks attack and a woman falling off a wharf at a public fireworks display.

Fireworks are also being blamed for the death of a dog which threw itself through a window after becoming terrified by fireworks noise.

The Manawatu Standard reported that the dog - believed to be a staffordshire terrier-cross - was found on thursday evening with bleeding heavily with a large gash and some smaller cuts under its front leg.

The dog had been left home alone and the SPCA believed it panicked because of the noise and jumped through the living room window.

Guy Fawkes weekend was also marked by students burning couches in Dunedin and a close call for Wanganui's historic wooden Opera House.

Dunedin firefighters were kept busier than usual due to Guy Fawkes coinciding with the council rubbish collection that takes place at the end of the Otago University year.

Fire Service Dunedin area commander Brendan Nally said of the roughly 31 call-outs on Saturday, only one was fireworks related while the rest were for burning couches, mattresses and rubbish.

"Those students who couldn't afford fireworks or had finished blowing up all their fireworks decided to start lighting couches and mattresses and what not that was out,'' he said.

"It's almost like Guy Fawkes was the cover - this was a mass rubbish burning.''

Mr Nally said the "idiots'' lighting the fires were not just having harmless fun but were committing acts of arson.

"I don't want to kill the student culture you know, I'm not the fun police ... but when it comes to the point where it's endangering people's health and safety or putting other people's property at risk, that's where I draw the line.''

Nationally, there were 267 fire-related calls on Friday and 143 on Saturday, compared with 276 and 297 respectively the previous year.

A Fire Service spokeswoman said that was partly due to a change in regulations four years ago, the cost of fireworks and changing attitudes.

"People are making choices to go to the public events rather than spend money.''

St John Ambulance said it was no busier than a usual Saturday night, with most incidents relatively minor.

A handful of children were treated on-site or at hospitals for fireworks-related injuries.

There were nervous moments at a public fireworks display at Cooks Gardens in Wanganui, as sparks flew towards the historic wooden Royal Wanganui Opera House.

Wanganui District councillor Jack Bullock said there were initially three separate fires, which joined into two, and sparks were flying over the opera house roof.

In Wellington, police rescued a woman who fell off the Taranaki St wharf while waiting for Saturday's public fireworks display to start.

Senior Constable Ross Lane jumped in the water and swam to recover the 65-year-old, who had slipped and fallen into the water.

She was taken to Wellington Hospital, where she spent the night after being treated for hypothermia.

In Rotorua, a woman was shocked after she was verbally abused by youths who threw a lit firework at her from a car while she was jogging on Old Quarry Rd.

The occupants of the car called her "blackie'' and hurled the firework at her, which narrowly missed.

The SPCA received no reports of seriously injured animals but executive director Bob Kerridge said there had been a spike in the number of missing pets.

Many missing animals got injured because they were running in fright.

The Coastguard investigated a number of reported flare sightings on Saturday, all of which turned out to be fireworks.

- APNZ

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