Edinburgh crime: Firefighters in Edinburgh come under attack as Bonfire Night approaches
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Firefighters battling blazes in Edinburgh have been attacked with fireworks and bottles in the run up to Bonfire Night.
Crews were called out to the Southhouse and Sighthill areas of Edinburgh on October 31 following reports of outdoor fires. While responding to a fire in Sighthill Park at 8.30pm on Tuesday, firefighters were attacked with bottles and fireworks.
Later that night, at around 10pm, crews were called to Southhouse Terrace and were met by teenagers who barricaded a street and launched fireworks at firefighters.
Deputy Assistant Chief Officer Garry Mackay branded the behaviour “unacceptable”. He said: “The Bonfire period is one the busiest spells for our staff and our emergency service partners, who work tirelessly to keep people safe. They should be able to carry out their role without being hurt or having appliances and equipment damaged by reckless anti-social behaviour.
“These actions are also an unnecessary drain on emergency service resources. We want to bring any emergency to a safe and swift conclusion – please respect our staff and all emergency services.”
It comes after residents in Niddrie were urged to remain indoors on November 5 last year as balaclava-clad youths on motorbikes caused chaos in the streets. Riots broke out as the gang lit a fire in the middle of a road, aimed fireworks at residents and attacked emergency services vehicles.
Watch Commander Daniel Johnston was part of the crew from Newcraighall Community Fire Station who came under attack. He said: “Fireworks were being set off all around and there was a lot of smoke haze. People were riding on electric motorcycles in front of the appliance.
“An object struck the rear window of the appliance which caused it to smash and alarmed the firefighter who was sitting next to the window. It was a threatening scene to drive through. The crews were intimidated by the number of people around who were shouting. We didn’t feel safe and people in the local community were scared in their homes.”
Crews in Ardrossan, North Ayrshire, have also been attacked this year as November 5 approaches. There were no injuries reported as a result of the incidents, but a number of fire appliances were damaged. In one case, a fire engine had to be removed from operational availability.
Garry Mackay added: “We know this is a small minority of people but any attack on the emergency services is completely unacceptable. Together with our Police Scotland partners, we will work to identify those responsible.
"Additionally, we also continue to ask parents, guardians and carers to help by making sure that children and young people are aware of the risk and consequences of engaging in such acts. Our priority is to keep our firefighters and our communities safe, and we urge the public to help us as we approach Bonfire Night.”
Anyone with information about attacks on emergency services or acts of deliberate fire setting call Police Scotland on 101.