Fire crews come under attack at two call-outs

The blaze at Coniston Road, Blyth.
The blaze at Coniston Road, Blyth.

Firefighters came under attack from youths armed with fireworks as missiles.

During a steady stream of call-outs on Bonfire Night, crews from Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service came under attack in Ashington and Blyth.

While dealing with incidents, fireworks were thrown at crews in Simonburn Lane, Ashington, and at The Oval in Blyth.

Paul Hedley, chief fire officer for Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service, had a strong message for those who had turned on firefighters trying to keep communities safe.

He said: “It is so disappointing that whilst thousands of people were enjoying bonfire night as a family night, a mindless minority were behaving with such shocking disregard for our staff.

“Our firefighters have a difficult job and work incredibly hard to keep the people of this county safe and to be greeted with aggression and unnecessary danger in this way is absolutely disgraceful.

“We will not tolerate attacks on our firefighters in any form and those responsible should know that we take these criminal actions extremely seriously and we will work closely with Northumbria Police to try and ensure they are identified and held to account.”

While thousands of residents around the county enjoyed safe and spectacular firework displays, fire crews had a busy night attending to incidents created by a small minority of irresponsible individuals.

The fire control room took 96 calls on Sunday compared to 36 the previous year.

Crews attended 19 bonfires that were considered to be dangerous as well as several other incidents including bin fires, a multiple vehicle fire at Cars4U in Blyth and a vehicle fire in Berwick. Of the calls to fire control, 14 were deemed to be false alarms and no action was required.

Coun John Riddle, cabinet member for the Fire &Rescue Service, said: “With Bonfire night falling over the weekend we expected a busy night. Our service was fully prepared with 18 appliances on stand-by and a full complement of frontline crews and operations control personnel.”

“The isolated incidents where our fire crew were targeted were completely unacceptable and very concerning.

“I’d like to pass on our thanks to all the event organisers and community members for their cooperation and support in creating what an extremely enjoyable Bonfire night for the majority of people.”

Northumberland Fire & Rescue Service works closely with other emergency services in the run up to Bonfire night to promote key safety messages to school children and the general community.