Youths attack fire crew with fireworks

Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service.
Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service.
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Youths threw fireworks at a fire crew as it attempted to put out a large bonfire in Alnwick.

The incident happened on Friday night at Howling Lane and the violence was so bad, firefighters were forced to leave the scene.

It was one of only two reports of bonfire-related anti-social behaviour towards fire crews in the whole county, with the other being in Blyth.

A spokesman for Northumberland Fire and Rescue said: “At 6.35pm on Friday, Fire Control received a call reporting a large bonfire alight on open ground on Howling Lane, Alnwick.

“A crew from Alnwick attended the incident and found a large number of youths setting off fireworks. On attempting to extinguish the fire, some youths began throwing fireworks at firefighters and the crew was forced to leave the incident.”

Chief Fire Officer Paul Hedley added: “The incidents in Alnwick and Blyth where crews were subject to abusive behaviour from members of the public is really disappointing. Our firefighters work tirelessly on and around Bonfire Night to protect the public and it’s unfortunate that this isn’t appreciated at times.”

Figures released today by Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS) show that call-outs on Bonfire Night around the county were at an all time low this year.

The amount of bonfires NFRS extinguished on Saturday was down to seven, a slight decrease from 10 last year. Firefighters also responded to six bonfires which were deemed to be safe and therefore did not require action, which was also down from 10 from the previous year.

The total number of calls to Fire Control on Saturday almost halved since last year with 36 calls received compared to 68 the previous year. Out of these calls, three were deemed not to require action and a crew didn’t need to respond to the incident which is one less than last year.

CFO Hedley added: “I’m delighted that this year’s Bonfire Night statistics are so low.

“If we look back a little less than 10 years ago, the amount of calls Fire Control has received has dropped a massive 85 per cent from 233 in 2007 to just 36 this year. These low figures are a credit to how hard our officers and members of the community have worked to make sure everyone enjoys a safe Bonfire Night.

“I’d like to thank and congratulate our teams and partners who are extremely dedicated and who continue to show professionalism, skill and hard work on what is typically the busiest night of the year.

“We’d also like to thank event organisers and community members for their cooperation throughout the Bonfire Night period.

“We will continue to work together to further reduce the number of incidents and improve public safety.”

NFRS works closely with other emergency services in the region on and around Bonfire Night to get key fire safety messages out in schools, on social media and in the general community.

By working with partners, NFRS is also able to ensure that NFRS Fire Control is notified of planned events and bonfires so that they are better able to assess what actions might be required from the service should they receive a call.