Fire chief's anger after six bonfire night attacks on fire crews

Firefighters were attacked at six locations across Scotland on bonfire night 2019.
Firefighters were attacked at six locations across Scotland on bonfire night 2019.
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Firefighters were subjected to six attacks across Scotland on bonfire night, one of their busiest nights of the year, putting crews and the public at risk, a leading Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) officer  said.

However, in Edinburgh, which set up seven dispersal zones covering Muirhouse, Loganlea, West Pilton, Saughton, Gorgie and Moredun, where police could break up two or more people behaving in an anti-social manner, no attacks were recorded.

Elsewhere, there were two alleged incidents recorded in Glasgow involving missiles such as rocks and fireworks thrown at crews, and a further two attacks reported in Troqueer in Dumfries and Galloway.

Crews in Dundee were also allegedly targeted in two separate incidents.

"Any number of attacks on emergency service responders is completely unacceptable."

John Dickie, assistant chief officer (ACO) of the SFRS, said such attacks could have affect crews’ ability to deal with an emergency incident as well as using police resources.

“Any number of attacks on emergency service responders is completely unacceptable,” assistant chief officer Dickie said.

READ MORE: Attacks on Scots emergency fire crews soar by 36 per cent in a year.
READ MORE: Edinburgh Bonfire Night: Maps show seven police 'dispersal zones.'

“This type of behaviour not only prevents our crews from bringing any emergency to a safe and swift conclusion but it can impact on our emergency service colleagues including the police when they have to escort us at the scene.

“We would like to thank our partners and the clear majority of the law-abiding public for their support and we hope that they had a safe and enjoyable bonfire night.”

ACO Dickie added: “We are working closely with Police Scotland in relation to all incidents to ensure that those responsible are held to account for their actions wherever possible.”

Control room operators in Scotland handled 882 calls with 665 incidents, including 359 bonfires.

"Firefighters put their own lives on the line to save others, regardless of who they are, which could even include their attackers."

Matt Wrack, Fire Brigades Union FBU) general secretary, said: “The attacks we’ve seen on our hardworking firefighters are absolutely appalling.

“Firefighters put their own lives on the line to save others – they are a vital part of the community and will save anyone and everyone, regardless of who they are, which could even include their attackers.

“This bonfire night has seen attacks on overstretched and under-resourced crews across the country.”

New FBU research revealed there were 1,170 attacks on firefighters in the UK in the last year.

Scotland saw such attacks rise by a third with 72 attacks.