Firefighter attacked mid-rescue after Leith blaze victim lashes out

Police at the scene following last night's attack on a firefighter. Picture: Ian Georgeson
Police at the scene following last night's attack on a firefighter. Picture: Ian Georgeson
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A FIREFIGHTER was taken to hospital after being attacked as he attempted to rescue a man from a kitchen blaze.

The crew member, who was the driver of the fire appliance, was kicked on the face and suffered a cut to his chin while attending the fire at high-rise flats in Linksview House, Tolbooth Wynd in Leith yesterday.

On arrival, fire crews discovered a fire in the kitchen of a flat and smoke coming out of the property.

The officer was taken to hospital for a precautionary check-up and released later last night.

An appliance was taken off the run for two hours until a replacement driver could be found.

Convener of the Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue Board Mike Bridgman described the attacks as “completely unacceptable”.

He said: “The firefighter involved was trying to save a life.

“We have a zero tolerance policy towards these attacks – these are men and women putting their lives on the line on a daily basis.

“The actions of this one person put the lives of others at risk as the fire appliance had to be taken out of service as a result.

We would hope that such crimes will be dealt with appropriately and that the courts come down heavily on people who commit such attacks.”

Senior Officer for the City of Edinburgh, John Dickie described the incident as ‘totally unacceptable’.

“No firefighter ever expects to be assaulted in the course of responding to an emergency, it is totally unacceptable.

“Our firefighter went to hospital for a precautionary check-up.”

Attacks on firefighters have risen in the past year, with incidents rising on 33 assaults during the 2010-11 period, to a provisional figure of 41 in the past year.

Edinburgh North and Leith MP Mark Lazarowicz said attacks of the emergency services had to be “stamped out”.