Too much celebrating?

February 12, 2009 3:14:56 PM PST
Life is more or less back to normal in Chapel Hill, but Wednesday night saw thousands of Tarheels swarming Franklin Street to jump through fires.Police say it went fairly well, but some would like to see big victories handled differently.

"While we believe the celebrations are important, there's no real reason these bonfires need to be a part of it," offered Dr. Bruce Cairns with the Jaycee Burn Center.

Cairns has seen many students injured from post-game bonfires over the years. He's grateful no one was treated for burns Wednesday night, but worries about the future.

"Every time I watch one of those fires I think of somebody falling down and not being able to get up as a result of having a broken leg or something," he said.

Even with the fires, police say the night was a success. They'd prefer to keep fans off the streets and flames out altogether, but say it's not always realistic. They weigh the risks of sending officers or firefighters into such crowds.

"We have learned in the past that going in with a heavy hand in some situations, only exacerbates the problem," explained Lt. Kevin Gunter with the Chapel Hill Police Department.


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