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New Year Fireworks Accidentally Set Fire To Melbourne Landmark (VIDEO)

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2012 got off to a dramatic start in Melbourne -- when a misfiring celebratory firework is thought to have set fire to a landmark and arts centre.

More than 500,000 people had gathered in the Australian city to watch the midnight fireworks, which were being launched from 17 locations.

But as the impressive display came to an end, it was realised that there were still flames at the top of the iconic Melbourne Arts Centre spire, which had been one of the launch sites.

More than 100 people called emergency services to report the blaze -- understood to have been started by a misfiring firework -- and 25 firefighters in seven appliances were dispatched.

However, because of the number of people on the streets, the firefighters had trouble getting to the blaze, and by the time they did, burning debris from the spire had fallen on the roof below.

Luckily they were able to quickly extinguish the fire on the roof, and the fire on the 162m spire burnt itself out after about 40 minutes.

A spokesperson for Melbourne Arts Centre told the Herald Sun the fire appeared to have caused only relatively minor damage.

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Filed by Sara C Nelson