BONFIRE Night celebrations went off without any serious incidents across Sunderland.
It seems families took notice of call from firefighters to attend public displays instead of trying to light their own fires.
Across the whole of Tyne and Wear, firefighters were called to 418 bonfires throughout Friday and Saturday evening, down a 23 per cent on last year.
So, although crews on Wearside were kept busy during putting out illegal bonfires, there were fewer of them than in previous years and no reports of any serious incidents across the city.
John Allison, group manager for Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, said he was pleased with the way the weekend had gone, and although it was busy for firefighters, it was also very successful.
He said: “The weather was really wet on Friday night, so that might have helped keep the numbers down.
“We did still deal with a hell of a lot of calls, but things seem to have gone smoothly.
“I think the success could be down to our bonfire campaign strategy, encouraging people to attend organised displays, and our educational strategy of going into every school in Sunderland with our hard-hitting DVDs, showing young people what the consequences of playing with fireworks can be.”
Sunderland Police attended 53 bonfire-related incidents and 12 firework-related incidents. One person was arrested.
Superintendent Gillian Mitchell said: “Bonfire Night passed without major incident and I’d like to thank the public for their support and co-operation.
“It seems most people have listened to advice and have attended organised displays, as well as reporting illegal bonfires, which has helped ensure a safe and enjoyable Bonfire Night for everyone.”
Firefighters in East Durham also reported no problems, with both Seaham and Peterlee fire stations attending 13 bonfires on the night.
A spokesman for the Seaham station said: “We were busy until about 10pm with small bonfires. We didn’t have any problems.”
A fire officer at Peterlee said: “We were kept busy with bonfires, but there was nothing out of the ordinary.”
SUNDERLAND’S biggest fireworks display once again proved to be a spectacular success.
Hundreds of people of all ages went along to enjoy Bonfire Night celebrations at Ashbrooke Sports Club, West Lawn.
The gates opened at 6pm and visitors flooded in to see the fireworks, which were set off into the night sky at 7.30pm.
As well as the colourful, dazzling display, families were also able to enjoy a funfair, food stalls and music played throughout the evening by Sun FM.
Elsewhere many other organised displays were also a big hit, including Houghton Round Table’s event at Hetton Lyons Cricket Club and Durham Police’s and County Durham Fire and Rescue Service’s joint production at police headquarters in Aykley Heads, Durham City.