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This article was reproduced with the kind permission
of the British Broadcasting Corporation



Thursday, 1 November 2007, 06:59 GMT
Firefighter call every 45 seconds

The Fire and Rescue Service received nearly 500 calls for help on Halloween night - one every 45 seconds over a seven hour period.

It said gorse and bonfires accounted for most incidents, with the numbers being slightly down on last year.

In the most serious incident, eight cars were damaged in a fire at a garage on the Ballynakilly Road in Coalisland.

Five appliances were also needed to deal with a serious fire at a derelict social club at Peter's Hill in Belfast.

More than 40% of calls originated from the south-east of Northern Ireland, the service said.

It added that while large crowds had gathered at a number of bonfire locations there were no attacks on appliances or crews attending calls.

Earlier, the service urged people holding Halloween parties to behave responsibly.

Last year, fire crews across NI were called out to 540 incidents, almost 200 more than in the previous year.

Many fires were started deliberately taking up valuable resources.

John Langtry, of the Fire and Rescue Service, said people must also take care when attending bonfires and handling fireworks.

"We're quite concerned that the level of incidents is going up," Mr Langtry said.

"We're also worried about firework safety, because people are getting injured. These injuries can involved losing fingers and hands, even loss of life.

"So it's very important that everybody treats these - basically explosive devices - with respect."