Firefighters pelted with rocks as they tackle blaze

Fire chiefs say this time of year is particularly fraught for their staff
Fire chiefs say this time of year is particularly fraught for their staff
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FIRE crews came under attack from youths in the west of the city as they attempted to extinguish illegal bonfires.

They were called to Torrance Park in Clermiston at around 6pm last night, only to be bombarded by eggs, forcing them to retreat and call police.

Then, two hours later when they had to attend the patch of grass in a residential area again, the youngsters threw sticks and stones at them, meaning they had to wait for officers before going in.

It comes two days after youths with golf clubs threatened firefighters in Musselburgh attempting to put out a bonfire.

And earlier this week, police were called to a five-a-side football facility in Portobello after fireworks were thrown on to the pitch as people played.

Lothian and Borders Fire Brigade said today that it was traditionally a tough time of year for the organisation, and that more incidents were expected as Bonfire Night approaches.

A spokeswoman said: “We were called a couple of times to Torrance Park last night, which is a zero-tolerance zone for bonfires.

“When the appliances got there the first time youths were throwing eggs and the police had to be called.

“We got called back at around 8.25pm and this time they were throwing stones and sticks at the appliances, so they had to call police again.

“We’ve had to attend more of these bonfires than normal this year, and it’s intimidating for the crews if they come under attack like this.”

Police are also investigating the incident at Portobello Powerleague earlier this week, which fire chiefs described as “reckless and dangerous”.

The missiles were thrown on to the pitches just after 9.30pm, with the first rocket landing on a vacant pitch.

The second was launched from the car park straight into the middle of a game on a neighbouring pitch at the Westbank Street facility.

Luckily, a goalkeeper saw the firework land and was able to warn the other players to get out of the way before it exploded.

He told the Evening News: “We were playing at the bottom, beside the car park. There was one thrown into one of the other pitches. There was a bit of smoke, but I didn’t think anything of it.

“Then one was thrown from the car park into the pitch we were playing on. It landed on the halfway line, still smoking.

“I was in goals and shouted at everyone to get out the way. The rocket went off and fired right across the pitch.

“One of my friends said it singed his leg a little bit.”

Community safety manager for the fire service David Lockhart urged the public to report any firework-related antisocial behaviour to police to prevent someone being seriously injured.

He said: “Throwing fireworks is an incredibly reckless and dangerous thing to do.

“The risk of injuring yourself or others by messing around with fireworks is very high. Every year people are injured by fireworks, we don’t want to see that happening this year.”

A police spokeswoman said inquiries into the incident on Monday night were ongoing.

She added: “We would appeal for anyone with information or anybody who may have heard anyone in the area or seen a group of youths running away from the scene to get in touch.”

A spokesman for Portobello Powerleague said: “This is an isolated incident that has never happened before at Portobello or any other of our sites.

“The safety of our customers is a priority. We will fully back any investigation and co- operate in any way we can.”