Firefighters attacked by youths in Sunderland

Firefighters came under attack and a fire appliance is now out of action after rocks and stones were thrown by a group youths in the Downhill area of Sunderland last night.

Shortly after 7pm last night a crew from Sunderland Central Fire Station responded to a call for a field on fire to the rear of the sports complex from a local farmer who was working adjacent to the field.

While dealing with the fire, a fire appliance was pelted with stones and rocks by a group of 15 youths and the windscreen of the Targeted Response Vehicle (TRV) was smashed.

Fortunately firefighters were uninjured but the TRV was taken off the run and is unavailable to respond to incidents until repairs have taken place.

Chris Lowther Chief Fire Officer of Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service said: “As a service we are here to respond when we are needed. It is absolutely unacceptable that firefighters, who work tirelessly to keep our communities safe, are being attacked in the line of duty.

“We’re seeing attacks on crews happening more often, I don’t want to go to a firefighter’s home and have to tell their family they have been injured in an attack. Fortunately the crew were uninjured last night but we now have a fire appliance unable to respond to emergencies because of the dangerous actions of these individuals. Attacks on firefighters has to stop, it’s putting lives at risk.”

Windscreen damaged

The crew had to withdraw from the area and remain at a safe distance until Northumbria Police arrived.

Steve Burdis Group Manager East District at Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service added: “The crew were just doing their job. They felt threatened and intimidated while coming under attack by such a large group of youths. Firefighters should not have to face attacks and abuse while they’re working to keep people safe.”