Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service has condemned the youths who attacked firefighters and threw bricks and fireworks at fire appliances last night.
"I’m lost for words. It’s absolutely disgusting that our firefighters have been attacked at all let alone three times."
Chief Fire Officer/Chief Executive, Peter Dartford
In three separate attacks, the Targeted Response Vehicle (TRV) from Hanley, Burslem’s fire engine and firefighters were pelted with bricks, stones, glass bottles and fireworks.
At 7.26pm the police called firefighters to put out a small fire at the rear of Rectory Road in Shelton. When the fire engine from Burslem arrived at Rectory Road, a large group of youths threw bricks at it.
Following on from this attack, firefighters then had fireworks thrown at them which thankfully did not injure any of the six firefighters on scene.
At 9pm the TRV was called to reports of another small fire left unattended on Selwyn Street in Shelton. However, en route to the scene the vehicle was pelted with bricks and stones by a group of youths on Havelock Place.
This meant to TRV crew were unable to deal with the fire so another fire engine from Hanley had to be sent to extinguish the fire on Selwyn Street.
At 9.25pm the TRV was requested to attend a number of deliberately started wheelie bin fires on Wellfield Road in Bentilee.
On arrival however the TRV was greeted by a large group of youths so the crew had to call for assistance from the police before they were able to disembark the vehicle.
Whilst liaising with police officers who arrived on scene, the firefighters came under a stone and glass bottle attack from the nearby youths, meaning the fire had to be left to burn out due to crews being unable to safely tackle it.
Chief Fire Officer/Chief Executive, Peter Dartford said: “I’m lost for words. It’s absolutely disgusting that our firefighters have been attacked at all let alone three times on what is one of our busiest nights of the year, when all our staff were trying to do was their job to protect local communities.
“What goes through these people’s minds beggars belief – to physically attack firefighters and cause criminal damage to very expensive pieces of equipment is simply wrong and those involved should hang their heads in shame.
“We will be working very closely with the police to trace the individuals who took part in last night’s incidents.
“This kind of behaviour is completely unacceptable and we will not tolerate it. It’s disgraceful and if anyone knows who any of the people involved are then I would urge them to do the right thing and tell the police immediately.
“The only blessing is that none of our firefighters have been injured and the TRV has sustained minor damage only which will be repaired over the next couple of days. This of course means that the vehicle will be out of action during that time so another will need to cover it.”
Anyone with information on these incidents should contact Staffordshire Police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.