Fewer incidents for Tyne and Wear firefighters on bonfire night

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS) is thanking residents for staying safe over this year’s bonfire period, after crews attended fewer incidents than expected.

On bonfire night itself, the control room dealt with 372 calls – compared to 512 last year, a reduction of 27%. Crews attended 211 incidents in total, whereas 556 were recorded on bonfire night 2018 – a 62% decrease. According to the latest data available, no injuries from fireworks or bonfires have been reported.

A car fire in Sunderland

TWFRS Chief Fire Officer Chris Lowther said: “Although the last few days have been relatively quiet compared to previous years, it’s still a very busy time for us.

I’d like to thank our firefighters, control room and community safety teams for all of their hard work over the past few weeks. Working with partners, schools and community groups to share our safety messages has clearly paid off.”

Crews in some areas were subjected to attacks and abuse while attending incidents on bonfire night, including:

  • aggression from youths in Hetton-le-Hole
  • missiles thrown at crews in Throckley and Jarrow
  • bangers and fireworks thrown at crews in North Shields on two separate occasions
A bonfire in Walker

Body worn camera footage of these incidents is currently being reviewed and will be shared with Northumbria Police.

CFO Lowther commented: “It is absolutely unacceptable that firefighters, who work tirelessly to keep our communities safe, are being attacked in the line of duty. Thankfully on these occasions, no one was injured and we actually saw fewer incidents of this nature this year.”

Body worn cameras were introduced across the Service last month and it has been well publicised that footage will be used to support the prosecution of anyone who attacks crews. It is hoped that the use of these cameras has already acted as a deterrent.

A bonfire in the woods in Sunderland

TWFRS also worked closely with Northumbria Police to act on reports of planned anti-social behaviour on and around bonfire night.

CFO Lowther continued: “Our joint working with police colleagues has certainly had a positive impact this year and I’d like to thank them for that.

Although bonfire night is over for another year, I expect that crews will continue to be called to deliberate refuse fires. Even small fires in wheelie bins put people at risk, so I’d urge anyone with any information on fires like these or attacks on firefighters to report what they know.”

Residents can contact FireStoppers 100% anonymously on 0800 169 5558 or at

Another bonfire in Sunderland that was left to burn unattended