Firefighters kept busy in Hampshire with Bonfire Night calls

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THE fire service was kept busy last night with bonfire displays.

There was an increase of about a quarter in the number of call outs to Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service on Monday evening.

At Southsea fire station there were 18 call outs - most of which were bonfire related.

In a joint operation between the crew, Portsmouth City Council, the police and Colas, the bonfire assessment team, toured the city looking out for bonfires that needed putting out.

Crew manager Dave Higgins explained.

‘This was a coordinated effort. When it gets to a point where everyone starts going home we extinguish the bonfire for them, making it safe.

‘We drown the bonfires in water and then Colas go round afterwards and clean it up, making everything safe.’

Organised events were held across the city including Handsworth House, in Somers Town, and Buckingham Green, in Buckland.

Crew Manager Higgins continued, ‘We had a couple of incidents where people had put fireworks boxes in the fire but, thankfully, all the fireworks had gone off. Sometimes you get misfires, so that is an incredibly dangerous thing to do.

‘But that wasn’t done by the organisers. The boxes were put on the bonfires afterwards by people who were abusing the bonfires. We put them out.’

Portsmouth City Council’s big display is Wednesday night at King George V playing fields, in Cosham.

The free event starts at 6pm and the bonfire will be lit at 7pm by the Lord Mayor of Portsmouth, Councillor Frank Jonas.

The fireworks rocket into action at 7.30pm, lasting approximately 20 minutes.