Firefighters attacked as fireraising mars Bonfire Night celebrations
Firefighters were kicked and punched as they tried to put out a fire in a night of violence which also left parts of Edinburgh looking like 'a war zone'.
The two firefighters were attacked by a gang of drunk youths at Lawfield Farm, Dalkeith, although neither needed hospital treatment and continued their shifts.
Residents in Muirhouse and Pilton described youths in balaclavas roaming the streets, police vans getting their windows broken and fireworks being fired at passers-by from high-rise flats.
Some took to social media to warn people to stay off the streets, with one saying: “It’s like a war zone. No police presence.”
Youths are suspected of starting a blaze that tore through an old Loanhead school and residents of Craigentinny reported at least four cars being set alight, including at least one being driven into a bonfire, and the fire brigade struggling to cope with the string of incidents. Firefighters were prioritising the ones closest to homes to tackle the most dangerous blazes first.
“Firefighters are there to save lives and it is unacceptable that they were physically assaulted while trying to perform their duties,” said Dalkeith fire chief Andy McDermont. “This type of behaviour not only prevents our crews from performing their duties but can also affect our colleagues in other emergency services, with police officers having to escort crews on jobs. This behaviour cannot be tolerated.”
One of the firefighters at Lawfield was punched in the face and the other kicked in the leg after being confronted by a gang of about 15 teenagers.
About 15 firefighters battled a blaze throughout the night at the old Paradykes Primary in Mayburn Walk, Loanhead, shortly after 9.30pm, on Saturday.
Crews were still dampening down the charred shell of the school yesterday morning while police were going door-to-door and checking CCTV.
“We have information that a number of youths were seen in the area near to the building prior to the fire starting,” said Insp Mitchell.
Anyone with information can contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. Police Scotland officers working over Bonfire Night in parts of Edinburgh tonight dealt with numerous call regarding the reckless use of fireworks in the city.
The areas of Pilton and Logalea were particularly challenging for officers and on a number of occasions fireworks were set off at officers by youths.
One officer has received an injury and a police vehicle has received damage as a result.
Chief Inspector Gill Geany at St Leonards Police Office said “The conduct of a number of youths this evening was outrageous and their misuse of fireworks was nothing short of dangerous.
“Serious injuries could have been caused by this behaviour and while no arrests have been made at this point we will work closely with everyone to ensure a thorough investigation is carried out to identify those responsible.
I would urge anyone who has any information which might help us in this investigation to contact us through the 101 number.”