New Year’s Eve celebrations “peaceful”, rise in fires noted

New Year’s Eve celebrations passed without major incident in the Czech Republic, but firefighters noted an increase in calls, most related to store-bought fireworks set off in private celebrations.

Firefighters responded to 176 fires nationwide, 27 more than last year. Most resulted from smoldering used fireworks discarded in trash bins and containers. In Prague, firefighters responded to 46 fires, 44 of which involved pyrotechnics.

In Mladá Boleslav, north Bohemia, police broke up skirmishes on Old Town Square between intoxicated Polish and Slovak revellers. Elsewhere, several people lost or severely damaged fingers when setting off fireworks.

An official New Year’s Day fireworks celebration traditionally take place in Prague at 6pm on Letná Park and may best be observed from the Vltava River embankments and nearby Prague bridges. The theme this year is linked to the 30th anniversary of the Velvet Revolution, which saw the fall of communism.