Large Blossom Festival blaze shut down

Several small explosions were sparked from a backyard fire after drunken revellers threw flammable objects on to it during Alexandra's annual Blossom Festival over the weekend.

The party-goers attempted to dissuade firefighters and police officers from dousing the flames at the large house party in Ashworth St around 2.20am on Saturday, but failed, police said.

The blaze was described as so large the flames were visible above the roofline of the house, police said, with concerned neighbours calling emergency services.

"Most of the people there were heavily intoxicated, and didn't want the fire put out, but the fire staff were able to extinguish it before anyone got hurt, which is a good outcome," Senior Sergeant Ian Kerrisk said, adding: "Fire and alcohol are not a good combination."

He said, overall, police were "extremely happy" with the behaviour of those attending the 58th Blossom Festival, but a few trouble-makers threatened to dampen the family-focused event.

"Given the large numbers of cars with young people from throughout the southern area who came into Alexandra, and the huge crowds of families in the town, it was pleasing to see everyone mixed so well," Mr Kerrisk said.

"Those young ones who came through in groups were stopped outside town and the liquor ban and behaviour expectations were outlined to them. To their credit all but one person took that on board and we have had no problems."

A 20-year-old Owaka man was arrested on Saturday afternoon for using offensive language in front of young families in Tarbert St.

He was later released with a pre-charge warning, Mr Kerrisk said.

"This young man was given every opportunity to behave. Even his friends were urging him to stop his carry on but he didn't.

"We are not about to have people using offensive language around family groups, so he was arrested.

"His friends were less than impressed with him so I suspect it would have been a long ride home for him."

On Friday night a 25-year-old Cromwell man was arrested for driving while suspended and outstanding court fines. He appeared in the Dunedin District Court on Saturday morning.


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