10,000 UK fans celebrate Final Four victory in Lexington - WDRB 41 Louisville News

10,000 UK fans celebrate Final Four victory in Lexington

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WDRB) -- Around 10,000 excited fans took to the streets of Lexington Saturday night to celebrate Kentucky's Final Four win.

Lexington fire officials reported putting out 80 small fires, and treating 35 injured--including one gunshot wound to the arm--Saturday night.

Campus was quiet Sunday afternoon, but State Street and surrounding blocks were littered with empty beer bottles, pizza boxes, and plastic cups. The litter was only a small indication of the chaos that ensued Saturday night after fans learned their team would advance to the final game.

Jillian Malone and her friends live on State Street. They spent part of Sunday afternoon making a spirited banner to hang from their home. The sign reads "You think U Conn, but you can't," referring to the one team that lies between the University of Kentucky men's basketball team and its ninth NCAA championship.

"We think we're really clever," said Malone about their home made sign. Almost every house along State Street has similar signs.

"We didn't think we were going to make it this far and we had such a tough season," said Malone. "It makes it so much more exciting."

Excitement displayed through new tree ornaments, and yard decorations that come in the form of discarded furniture and trash.

"If you stood on the roof there was people from that end of the street all the way spilling out to Limestone to the hospital. You could not move," said Malone.

Authorities say their biggest battle on State Street and the surrounding blocks is fire.

"There were burning pizza boxes, mattresses, there are couches everywhere," said Bardstown, Ky. native Caleb Goff.

Lexington Fire Battalion Chief Brian Wainscott said fans were taking their clothes off and lighting them on fire.

"It seems to be the thing to do to light things on fire and throw them into the crowd," he said many of the 35 injuries they treated were burns.

Wainscott said their tactics in handling the large and rowdy crowds has changed this year. They now focus on foot patrol, he said, to avoid bringing response vehicles into the crowd.

"Our best approach we've found is to put our fire fighters on foot, inside with water can extinguishers," he said. "That way we can knock out small fires and we aren't having to move apparatus"

Authorities say they aren't there to stop the partying, rather keep it under control.

"The police are allowing you to have a party and a good time and on a normal night, you are going to get arrested for some of the things that go on out there," said Wainscott.

Wainscott said he will have crews working overtime Monday night in order to ensure the crowd stays under control.

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