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CHAUTAUQUA COUNTY FIRES DECLINE

Fire-prevention education is being credited for a 17 percent drop in the number of fires in Chautauqua County from 1995 to 1996.

A new report from the New York State Department of State shows the total number of fires for that period dropped from 930 to 772. The figures include structure fires, vehicle fires, and others such as brush fires.

County Fire Coordinator Neil McNeight said while his office helps individual departments countywide, each has developed its own prevention program as well.

"We have some materials to give them, but each department really makes its own effort, and for those that really work it is all the time," he said. "It isn't just Fire Prevention Week in October, they work all year long, talking to children in schools, senior citizens groups, service organizations -- wherever they can."

McNeight is hoping 1997 will bring a continued drop in the number of fires, but he said those numbers are not final yet.

"We recently had a couple of major mutual aid fires, at the Greystone Apartments in Westfield and the Good Morning Farm in Stow. Other than those two, we haven't had any large fires, but we are hoping for another drop," he said.

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