Lexington revelers have been pushed into flames, burned, firefighters warn ahead of Final Four weekend

jwarren@herald-leader.comApril 2, 2014 

UK fans on State Street gather around a burning couch after UK defeated UL 74-69 in the NCAA Midwest Regional in Indianapolis March 28, 2014. Photo by Jonathan Palmer

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People getting burned at Lexington's previous post-game celebrations have been pushed into flames, the Lexington fire department warned Wednesday as they urged residents to forego fires in their Final Four celebrations.

"In 2012 and again this past week, fire crews saw several people who had received accidental burns during celebrations," the statement from Battalion Chief Joe Best statement said. "Luckily, most of these were minor, but some were not."

Warnings have not gotten much attention previously. Firefighters reported 41 fires during celebrations in the State Street area after the University of Kentucky's NCAA victories last weekend. They're preparing for more unrest this weekend after UK plays.

When fans burned couches and trash in the past, the people who got hurt often weren't the ones who started the fires, according to the statement from Best.

"Most of the injuries occurred as people gathered around the burning debris," the news release said. "As the crowd moves inward, those in front are often pushed too near the fire. On several occasions, those in front were inadvertently pushed into the flames."

Best's safety suggestions: Keep a friend with you at all times during the celebrations; never set fires a crowd; get away from fires quickly; and immediately seek help from firefighters or police if you are injured.

Jim Warren: (859) 231-3255.

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