Bonfire Night marred by attacks on firefighters

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Bonfire Night in Scotland has been marred by a number of attacks on firefighters in various locations in the west and east of Scotland.

On the busiest night of the year for the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service crews were faced with missiles and fireworks being thrown at them as they worked tirelessly to keep people safe.

Initial figures indicate Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) crews and operations control staff on duty had a busy Guy Fawkes night.

Between 4pm and midnight firefighters across the country had responded to 970 incidents, including 326 bonfires and Operations controls had dealt with hundreds of calls.

SFRS Assistant Chief Officer (ACO) Lewis Ramsay, said: “Attacks on emergency responders are completely unacceptable and I am sure the public would be outraged by incidents where their firefighters have been targeted while working to protect people and property.

“Those responsible should know that the authorities take these criminal actions extremely seriously and we will work closely with police to ensure they are identified and held to account.

“We will continue our efforts to bring about a reduction in these dangerous actions by a small number of individuals. As an organisation we have a duty of care towards our employees and we are committed to protecting our frontline staff who work in challenging circumstances to make communities safer.”

At 7.26pm the Ardrossan crew came under attack by youths in New England Road. A stone caused slight damage to the appliance. At 7.39pm firefighters in Wellington Street, Greenock were forced to withdraw from the area after missiles were thrown at the crew.

Firefighters were responding to reports of a bonfire in Fore Street, Glasgow at 7.48pm when youths attacked the appliance with various missiles. Then at 7.51pm a large group of youths threw fireworks at the crew as they responded to a call in the Balgrayhill area of Glasgow.

And at 9.11pm firefighters attending a bonfire in Durban Avenue, Clydebank had fireworks thrown at the appliance. Thankfully no one was injured.

In the east crews were called to a bonfire in Stenhousemuir at 5.44pm and had rockets aimed at the appliance. At 6.13pm in the Sighthill area of Edinburgh a similar situation occurred. Crews called to an incident where rubbish had been set alight in Bingham at 6.30pm had stones thrown at them and one firefighter was struck.

And at 7.23pm in Stirling firefighters called to a bonfire had projectiles thrown at them.

Elsewhere in the country crews were also busy.

In the north the Beauly crew was called to attend a fire involving a 20-metre hedge which had been set alight by a stray firework in Muir of Ord, Ross-shire. Crews used a high pressure jet to extinguish the fire. Firefighters were also called to extinguish an area of whins on fire at Alturlie Quarry, Allanfearn.

In Aberdeen crews were called to attend a number of fires, including wheelie bins and bonfires, in various areas of the city. And in Dundee crews were called to deal with a number of bonfires.

SFRS had appealed to the public to choose to attend organised events rather than do-it-yourself fireworks displays or illegal bonfires.

ACO Ramsay, said: “Our crews responded to 970 incidents on Bonfire Night and over 300 bonfires.

“Bonfire Night is typically the service’s busiest night of the year, but in addition to numerous bonfires firefighters continue to respond to the full range of emergencies we face on a daily basis.

“Our frontline crews and Operations Control personnel are extremely dedicated and I would like to pay tribute to their professionalism, skill and hard work which enabled them to help protect communities across the country.”