The Deepavali on Saturday passed off without any reports of major fire mishaps in the southern districts.

According to the Fire and Rescue Service department officials here, the number of fire calls received in the 24 hours ending Sunday morning was 33, which included a ‘small’ fire at a house in Madurai and a ‘ medium’ fire reported in Ramanathapuram on Saturday.

Until a few years ago, the number of fire calls during Deepavali was around 100 in the Madurai region, fire officials said.

The Madurai region comprises the eight districts of Madurai, Theni, Sivaganga, Ramanathapuram, Virudhunagar, Tirunelveli, Tuticorin and Kanyakumari.

According to District Fire Safety Officer K. Karuppiah, Madurai district recorded the highest number of fire calls with 12 — five persons sustained minor injuries caused by firecrackers.

Theni district reported two ‘small’ fires and one caused by crackers while 9 ‘small’ fires and 6 caused by crackers were reported in Virudhunagar district.

Ramanathapuram district reported 4 ‘small’ and one ‘medium’ with 3 fires caused by crackers, one small fire in Tuticorin district and four small fires in Kanyakumari district. No fire calls were reported from Sivaganga and Tirunelveli districts.

According to Joint Director (Fire and Rescue Services) K. Ponnusamy, sustained campaign on safety aspects, while bursting crackers, in educational institutions and among the public had fetched the desired results.

Moreover, incessant rain in many parts of southern districts in the last three days had helped in containing fire accidents in a big way, he said.

The officials added that strict enforcement on issuance of licence to shopkeepers intending to sell crackers also helped. Only after prior inspection, licences were issued.

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