Bonfire night call outs lowest for 12 years – but people injured and fire crews under attack on the rise

.Picture by Joe Spence
.Picture by Joe Spence

Tyne and Wear fire service received its lowest number of Bonfire Night call outs for over a decade - but more crew members came under attack and the amount of people treated for injuries was also on the rise.

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service’s Control Room reponded to 127 incidents in 24 hours on November down 29& from the 178 turn outs the previous year.

The service’s control room handled 375 calls in 24 hours on November 5 - a 4.4% fall on the 391 calls 12 months previously.

The number of deliberate rubbish blazes was down 21% (from 71 in 2014 to 56 this year), while the number of property fires also dipped 30* - from 10 last year to 7 this time around.

The number of call outs was the lowest for 12 years.

But three firefighters were attacked during the frantic Bonfire Night celebrations, after no incidents wwere recorded in 2014.

Twelve casualties aged between two and 39 years were treated in Tyne and Wear hospitals for bonfire and firework injuries between October 26 and November 6 this year compared to eight in 2014.

Assistant Chief Officer Chris Lowther, Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service said: “Our provisional figures show the positive impact our partnership working is having in reducing the number of incidents we attend over the bonfire period and in helping the public to stay safe.

“I’d like to praise our staff for their hard work and professionalism last night and in the run-up to Bonfire Night in dealing with what remains the busiest time of the year for us.

“We’ve had a busy night but we’re pleased that we received the lowest number of calls and incidents for 12 years.

“We’re also delighted that most people had an enjoyable Bonfire Night and I’d thank parents, children and the public in general for their support throughout the bonfire period.

“Our message for anyone who has delayed their bonfire celebration until this weekend is to attend one of the organised displays that have been planned.

“That’s the safest way to enjoy the bonfire period and to ensure you don’t add to the list of injuries that have regrettably occurred in Tyne and Wear this year.

“It is worrying that there has been a small increase in the number of people injured this year and I’d like to repeat our message not to play with fireworks or bonfires.”

Unfortunately three firefighters were subject to verbal and physical abuse whilst they were carrying out their duties last night.

“Thankfully they were not seriously injured but throwing objects at our crews clearly has the potential to cause serious harm. That is totally unacceptable and we will work with our partners in the police to ensure the people responsible are brought to justice.

“Attacks on crews not only hinder them from fulfilling their role to make our communities safe but also risk putting emergency equipment out of action which could be needed to save a life at any time.

“The safety of our firefighters is of primary importance, and whilst attacks on our staff are rare, we will do everything to protect our staff and have CCTV fitted to every fire appliance. We will use this evidence for prosecutions of anyone who targets our staff.”

The North East Ambulance Service joined the call for the public to stay safe over the weekend.

Health and safety manager at North East Ambulance Service, Andrew Lumsden, said: “Every year our crews attend incidents where young people and children are seriously injured or burnt as a result of fireworks or bonfires. They are often life changing incidents that are extremely traumatic for everyone involved

“We have already been called out to people injured as a result of bonfire night celebrations and would urge people to put the safety of themselves and others first.”