Northumberland firefighters faced two incidents of 'disgraceful' aggression aimed at them amid a steady stream of Bonfire Night call-outs on their busiest night of the year.
The fire control room took 111 calls last night (Monday) compared to 96 on November 5 last year.
Crews attended 20 bonfires that were considered to be dangerous as well as several other incidents including a large quantity of tyres and wheels on fire in Bebside, bin fires in Seaton Delaval and Cramlington, a horse box fire in Seghill, trees on fire in Hexham, and a road traffic collision in Morpeth. Of the calls to fire control, 18 were deemed to be false alarms and no action was required.
But there were two incidents of aggressive and abusive behaviour towards fire crews when attending bonfires - one in Bedlington, and another in Newsham. Police have been notified of both incidents for further investigation.
A Northumberland County Council spokesman said: "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."
Paul Hedley, the chief fire officer for Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service, had a strong message for those who had turned against firefighters trying to keep communities safe: “It is so disappointing that while 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 abuse 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 to ensure they are identified and held to account.”
Northumberland County Councillor John Riddle, cabinet member for the Fire & Rescue Service said: “With Bonfire Night falling near the weekend we expected a busy night and our service was fully prepared.
“I’d like to pass on our thanks to all the event organisers and community members for their cooperation and support in creating 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.