Shocking new stats show rise in attacks on firefighters ahead of Bonfire Night

Fireworks being ignited in their direction, being bombarded by rocks and stones and suffering verbal abuse – all in a days work for the firefighters of Tyne and Wear as they help save lives.

Thursday, 28th October 2021, 3:07 pm

The shocking revelation comes as a North East Fire Chief has called on support from local communities after revealing attacks on firefighters are on the rise.

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS) have today (October 28) revealed there have been 50 attacks on their firefighters this year.

This represents a worrying escalation after 2020 saw a a significant drop in attacks on firefighters to 39 across the whole year.

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Tyne and Wear firefighters have been subjected to attack while helping to save people's lives.

Chief Fire Officer Chris Lowther said: “No one wants to be targeted because of their job. No one wants to go to work and be worried about getting attacked.

“The situations our crews put themselves in to keep our communities safe is incredible and it’s absolutely ridiculous they get targeted while trying to save lives."

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With Bonfire Night only a week away, fire chiefs are concerned about further attacks during what is traditionally the busiest time of the year.

Officer Lowther added: “The worst thing is it’s such a small minority of people acting like this but their actions can be detrimental on us as a fire service.

“Appliances out of use because of damage or firefighters not being able to work due to injury, it puts us all at risk. We want to work with the public and our partners to make sure that things like this don’t happen, while holding those responsible to account.

“The majority of those responsible are teenagers and we would ask parents to speak to their children and educate them about what they’re doing.

“Not only are they potentially putting themselves and their community in danger, but they’re putting themselves at risk of getting into trouble with the police.”

In 2018 and 2019 there were 73 and 58 attacks on firefighters.

The report comes in the same week TWFRS revealed in the last year they had spent the equivalent of 64 days tackling 4,421 deliberate fires, including 1,332 in Sunderland and 500 across South Tyneside.

Anyone who sees fire crews being attacked or fires being started deliberately are urged to contact 101 or, in the case of potential arson, Firestoppers on 0800 169 5558.

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