Axed bonfire night events the cause of huge rise in callouts for fire crews

The cancellation of organised bonfire night events is said to behind a sharp rise in calls to the fire service – with its boss warning he will push for the prosecution of anyone who attacks his crews.

Tuesday, 10th November 2020, 5:14 pm

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue service (TWFRS) said it was “extremely busy” on bonfire night and the days around it because the region’s usual organised displays were scraped due to Covid-19.

A number of incidents saw firefighters attacked, with the service pushing for action against the yobs who pelted them with missiles and set off fireworks at them.

On bonfire night itself, its control room dealt with more than 450 calls – an increase of 24% from last year.

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Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service's Chief Fire Officer Chris Lowther has thanked his workers for their efforts in keeping people safe around this bonfire night.

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The number of incidents attended between Sunday, November 1, and Friday, November 6, increased from the same period last year, from 424 to 452.

CFO Lowther reaffirmed his views on concerns he has about this teams being targeted, adding: “Firefighter attacks are never acceptable, but at a time when we all need to pull together and support our emergency services, it’s absolutely disgraceful.

"Under the current circumstances, people should not be gathering in large groups – let alone setting fires then abusing or attacking our crews, who work tirelessly to keep our communities safe.

“Thankfully no one was hurt on this occasion, but I’d like to reiterate that all of our officers are equipped with body worn cameras and our vehicles have CCTV cameras.

"We will not hesitate to use this footage to support prosecution of anyone who attacks us.”

TWFRS, Northumbria Police and Trading Standards worked together to identify and prevent the illegal sale of fireworks and ensure they pyrotechnics were being stored correctly, with more than 277kg of explosives seized from nine addresses, both commercial and domestic.

Anyone who has information on firefighter attacks is urged to contact FireStoppers 100% anonymously on 0800 169 5558 or at www.firestoppersreport.co.uk.

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