Sun, Jan 03, 2016 - Page 3 News List

Police investigating fiery New Year’s celebrations

ABLAZE:A scenic observation platform was reduced to ashes in Yilan County, while an unidentified person fired flares over the revelers’ heads at a party in Kaohsiung

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

Some of the New Year’s Eve celebration parties held across the nation ended in blazes, prompting police and judicial officials to launch investigations into three cases of alleged unlicensed use of fireworks and other items.

An explosion happened in the early hours of Friday as a New Year’s party was coming to an end at the Kaohsiung Dream Mall.

Witnesses said that a partygoer fired incendiary flares close to the crowd and one flare exploded into a fireball just outside the plaza.

The explosion caused minor panic, as people ran to get away from the scene, while police records showed that there were no serious injuries.

Witnesses said that the flares flew right over people’s heads, with the explosion happening right outside the gathering.

Police said they are reviewing footage from surveillance cameras and gathering evidence to find the perpetrators.

Police found three flare cartridges that are commonly used by fishermen in an inspection of the scene, Kaohsiung police captain Wang Chun-sheng (王春生) said.

“The signal flares can be bought at fishery supply stores. However, they are dangerous and can cause injuries if not handled properly,” Wang said. “If someone deliberately shoots flares at people, they can be charged with offenses against public safety.”

Meanwhile, several people were injured at a party in Tainan when pyrotechnic equipment fell on the revelers, police said.

One woman was hit on the head, sustaining a gash and minor burns, and was rushed to a local hospital for treatment, police said.

Tainan City police officials said that the incident was caused by a flaming firecracker that failed to go off and fell on the crowd.

An investigation was launched to find out who is responsible for the incident, as using that type of firecracker, which does not conform with the Firework and Firecracker Management Act (爆竹煙火管理條例), was not a part of the event’s pyrotechnics show, police said.

In a separate incident, a coastal scenic lookout station made of wood was burned to the ground in Yilan County.

Firefighters responded to a call from Nanfangao (南方澳) in the early hours of Friday.

They arrived to find the observation station in blazes, which eventually consumed and destroyed the entire structure.

Fire investigators said it was likely that people who were celebrating the New Year on the beach set off fireworks and accidentally set the lookout station on fire, as various types of firecrackers and pyrotechnics equipment were found at the site.

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