Firefighters from West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (WYFRS) endured an evening of being attacked by fireworks and stones this Halloween.
Throughout the evening crews came under attack on six occasions, and whilst fortunately no-one has been injured, damage was caused to a fire engine.
Last week WYFRS launched a campaign called More Than A Uniform which condemns attacks on firefighters and Fire Chiefs have expressed concern that their stark warnings appear to have fallen on deaf ears.
Deputy Chief Fire Officer Dave Walton said: “Yesterday was an incredibly busy day for the Fire Service with over 600 calls coming into our Control Room and of those over 125 incidents were attended.
“Whilst our firefighters were trying to carry out a job and protect the community, they also came under attack, which in our eyes is disgusting.
“The fact that it was Halloween does not excuse dangerous behaviour which could ultimately result in serious injury.
“We are now in the run up to Bonfire Night and we urge communities to spread our message that this must stop now.”
The More Than A Uniform Campaign highlights the fact that firefighters are sons, daughters, are often mums and dads, husbands and wives – not just people in uniforms.
Incidents last night (31/10/17) where crews came under attack:
Fireworks were thrown at a moving fire engine on two separate occasions last night in the Park Ward of Halifax – once at 1920 hrs and again at 1945 hrs.
District Commander for Calderdale Martyn Greenwood said: “Fortunately nobody was injured, however these types of attacks present a real danger to road users and could easily cause a serious accident.
“Earlier this month, fire crews also had fireworks thrown at them while dealing with another incident located in the same area.
“I am saddened by these reckless attacks which threaten the safety of our local fire crews, particularly around the bonfire night season.”
At around 17.45 hrs stones were thrown at crews attending an incident near Undercliffe Cemetery. Crews could hear stones bouncing off the fire engine. Police attended the incident.
District Commander for Bradford Martin Speed said: “We are doing a great deal of work with our colleagues at Bradford Council and West Yorkshire Police to try to ensure that everyone can enjoy a safe and fun Bonfire Night. Attacks of this kind, carried out against firefighters just doing their job, can affect the safety of the very communities in which the attacks are carried out by causing our response into those communities to be delayed.”
Fire crews working out of Killingbeck and Leeds (Kirkstall Road) stations last night came under attack from people in the Harehills and Hyde Park areas of the city, stones and fireworks were deliberately aimed at crews and their fire engines.
The first attack was against Killingbeck station’s crew at 1908 hrs and involved crews having bricks thrown at them whilst attending a bin fire in Harehills area.
The second incident at 1918 hrs was against Leeds station’s crew who were responding to a fire in the open where approximately 30 people were throwing fireworks in Hyde Park area.
The final incident at 2110 hrs was once again against Leeds station crew who were in the Hyde Park area where both the crew and fire engine was hit by fireworks. No injuries to crew members but scorch marks and small dents to fire engine.
District Commander for Leeds, Russ Hepton said: “These senseless attacks will inevitably lead to a member of the Fire Service being seriously injured whilst simply endeavouring to save life and protect their local communities. I would appeal for parents in these communities to ensure their loved ones are not involved in this criminal, anti-social behaviour.
“The Fire Service will actively seek to identify and prosecute any member of the general public that assaults frontline crews. Our staff are there to protect your communities, please treat them with the dignity and respect they deserve.
“All we want is for everyone to have a safe and enjoyable bonfire period.”
Please support our #MoreThanAUniform Campaign via Twitter @WYFRS or on our Facebook page.