By Andria Kades
The fire services responded to 62 calls over the Easter weekend for incidents relating to the traditional bonfires, known as ‘lambradjia’, while police said injuries from firecrackers were down compared to last year.
The calls to the fire services were made over a 26-hour period between 6am on Saturday and 8am on Sunday. Specifically there were 25 episodes in Nicosia, 14 in Limassol, eight in Larnaca, four in Famagusta and one call to the rapid response team, authorities said.
This was the first time there were no serious injuries caused by firecrackers on the night before Easter, with the exception of one 18-year-old. Police attributed the feat police to their intense crackdown campaign and frequent patrols near churches, malls and other popular spots.
In total, there were six injuries during Easter, 19 less than 2014 and 2013. Police collaborated with local authorities, churches and schools even given lectures to students and parents.
Over Lent, almost 200,000 crackers were confiscated along with 22,049 fireworks, 1,147 flares, 720 smoke bombs and 20 kilos of materials used to make them. The numbers far exceeded last year’s 12,000 firecrackers.
Police chief Zacharias Chrysostomou thanked officers for their hard work and also journalists for informing the public. He said he was pleased that police met their goal of keeping the public safe during Easter.
In a separate fire incident on Monday, a mother and her young child suffered first degree burns after a fire broke out in the basement of their Yeroskipou flat in Paphos.
Fire services dispatched two vehicles to Grivas Dighenis Street after a call at 5.10pm and found the flames had started from the electricity meters in the basement, and had quickly spread to old objects underneath, causing the building to fill with smoke.
A family of three, the only people in the flat at the time, headed to the balcony for safety after they were trapped in thick smoke.
The 35-year-old mother however panicked and ran down the stairs, which were filled with smoke before authorities arrived, carrying her two and a half year-old child, and they suffered first degree burns. They were taken to the emergency services in Paphos General Hospital.
Upon arrival fireman ventilated the staircase to help other residents escape safely.
On Saturday night, a 58-year-old woman from Tseri died after a car crash. This was the only serious road incident between Good Friday and Easter Monday, Nicosia Hospital Emergency Services manager Fivos Kostopoulos said.
Between Monday at 7am and the same time on Tuesday, about 350 patients were treated at the emergency room.
Over 1,000 people visited the ER over the holiday weekend for minor cases such as allergies, colds, respiratory infections and minor accidents. The figures were no higher than a standard day, Kostopoulos said
This year, there were hardly any cases of over-eating or over-drinking and not too many cases of gastrointestinal problems, a standard phenomenon in Cyprus after holiday and feast season.