Firefighters attacked at Easter

TWFRS firefighters have been subjected to attacks and verbal abuse in three separate incidents in Newcastle and Gateshead this week.

Area Manager John Pratt

On Sunday evening a crew from West Denton Fire Station White Watch was prevented from extinguishing a wheelie bin fire on Whitbeck Road by approximately 20 young people who were throwing stones at them. They attended the scene twice and fortunately there were no injuries to the crew or damage to the vehicle.

On Tuesday afternoon a fire crew from Gateshead Fire Station Red Watch was subjected to sustained verbal abuse and rocks thrown at their appliance by youths while extinguishing a rubbish fire in a wooded area outside of Fell Court flats, Beacon Lough in Gateshead.

The final incident saw a crew from Newcastle Fire Station White Watch attending a wheelie bin fire at Fairholm Road in Newcastle they were subjected to verbal abuse, thrown missiles including bottles and stones and were obstructed by a group of approximately ten 13-16 year old girls.

John Pratt, TWFRS Area Manager – Service Delivery, said: “Firefighters perform essential duties in helping to protect the public and keep our communities safe.

“These attacks by groups of boys and girls, not only hinder our crews in their work but distract them while they extinguish fires and stop them spreading or causing further damage.

“We’d like to appeal to the parents and guardians of young people to remind them that we are here to protect them and respond if they or their families need help, not to be attacked.

“If a firefighter is injured or an appliance damaged, they are out of service for days or longer which could have serious consequences for the public if we have to respond to serious or major incidents.

“Also talk to them about the dangers of deliberate fires – to them, their friends and the local community. And it’s not just physical harm – causing a deliberate fire can lead to a criminal record and the sentences for those who attack firefighters are currently being strengthened by the UK Government.”