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Firefighters warn of danger after being ‘bombarded’ in run-up to Bonfire Night

Fire crews were attacked after responding to emergency calls in Niddrie, Edinburgh last year (Dan Barker/PA)
Fire crews were attacked after responding to emergency calls in Niddrie, Edinburgh last year (Dan Barker/PA)

Firefighters have warned about dangerous and unacceptable behaviour after being “bombarded” with fireworks, bricks and bottles in the week leading up to Bonfire Night.

Emergency crews who were mobilised to tackle a series of outdoor fires were targeted twice on Monday evening in Ardrossan, North Ayrshire.

Two further attacks took place in the Southhouse and Sighthill areas of Edinburgh on Tuesday, which was Halloween.

Firefighters were forced to request assistance from Police Scotland in order to escort them to extinguish the fires.

A number of fire appliances sustained damaged, with one removed from operational activity. The Scottish Fire and Rescue Services (SFRS) is facing having to make millions of pounds in budget cuts.

Garry Mackay, deputy assistant chief officer at SFRS. has branded the behaviour unacceptable, and warned the service will take a zero-tolerance approach.

He said: “The Bonfire period is one the busiest spells for our staff and our emergency service partners, who work tirelessly to keep people safe.

“They should be able to carry out their role without being hurt or having appliances and equipment damaged by reckless, anti-social behaviour.

Dundee anti-social behaviour
Dundee was the scene of anti-social behaviour in and around Bonfire Night last year (@oxiconton/PA)

“These actions are also an unnecessary drain on emergency service resources.

“We want to bring any emergency to a safe and swift conclusion – please respect our staff and all emergency services.”

Station Commander Paul Timmons was part of the crew mobilised to an outdoor fire in Ardrossan on Monday night when they came under attack.

He said: “A number of objects were being thrown at us by a group of people and something struck the roof of the appliance.

“This behaviour prevents us from doing our job. We shouldn’t be treated this way – it is unsafe and someone could be seriously hurt.”

Emergency crews were attacked on Bonfire Night last year in the Niddrie area of Edinburgh.

Watch commander Daniel Johnston was part of the crew from Newcraighall Community Fire Station which came under attack.

He said: “Fireworks were being set off all around and there was a lot of smoke haze. People were riding on electric motorcycles in front of the appliance.

“An object struck the rear window of the appliance which caused it to smash and alarmed the firefighter who was sitting next to the window.

“It was a threatening scene to drive through. The crews were intimidated by the number of people around who were shouting.

“We didn’t feel safe and people in the local community were scared in their homes.”

A campaign has been launched to raise awareness in order to keep emergency service personnel safe.

Mr Mackay added: “We know this is a small minority of people but any attack on the emergency services is completely unacceptable.

“Together with our Police Scotland partners, we will work to identify those responsible.

“Additionally, we also continue to ask parents, guardians and carers to help by making sure that children and young people are aware of the risk and consequences of engaging in such acts.

“Our priority is to keep our firefighters and our communities safe, and we urge the public to help us as we approach Bonfire Night.”

Anyone with information about attacks on emergency services or acts of deliberate fire setting call Police Scotland on 101, Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or report online to Fearless at www.fearless.org.