herald

Saturday 3 December 2016

320 callouts as cit y parties in style

Garda Public Order Unit officers on patrol in Finglas for Halloween night
Garda Public Order Unit officers on patrol in Finglas for Halloween night
Riot police were on duty in Finglas

Dublin's emergency services were stretched to capacity as Halloween festivities took a dangerous turn in many parts of the city.

Dublin Fire Brigade (DFB) responded to more than 320 999 calls in the 24-hour period around Halloween.

Two units of the Garda Public Order Unit were dispatched to the Barry Park area of west Finglas last night, dressed in full riot gear. A further two squad cars were also at the scene.

The gardai then called in the Fire Brigade to tackle a bonfire in the area as it threatened to get out of control. Sources said last night the Public Order Unit may have been in the area as a precautionary measure.

In some areas, several fires attracted the attention of gardai and fire officers.

In Darndale, children as young as 10 could be seen spreading fire around with burning embers.

Bonfire

Meanwhile in Clongriffin, disaster was averted after a loose firework landed on the roof of an apartment complex and set it on fire.

Three fire engines and a turntable ladder were on hand to put out the blaze. It is understood there were no injuries in the incident.

In Dublin's north inner city, a bonfire close to 25-foot high was being monitored heavily by gardai, with more than 10 members of the force on hand around the Sheriff Street area.

However, the size of the bonfire - containing mainly wooden pallets - was played down by locals.

"They're getting smaller every year, you'd just wonder what it'll be like next year," one resident said.

In Quarryvale, Clondalkin a car was driven into a bonfire - however, DFB said there were no casualties during the incident.

A spokeswoman for DFB said there had been no incidents of fire officers injured, despite the large volume of calls.

"There's been no issues of any of our crews being under attack, nothing like that," she said.

"The incidents seem to be spread around the city. We've had 320 call outs from 6pm (Sunday night) until 5pm today - that's probably about triple the number of calls," she added.

Fears

Despite fears of attacks on firefighters or engines, the spokeswoman insisted that the training exercises undergone by firemen and women were designed with Halloween in mind.

"Our staff are always prepared for Halloween, in a sense Halloween is what they're really trained for in some ways," she said. "In fairness it's usually relentless. They're well prepared."

A number of fires were tended to by DFB that were situated in close proximity to houses, which the fire service believe to be very dangerous.

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