herald

Tuesday 17 October 2017

Fire crews demand garda escort after gang's brick attack

FIREFIGHTERS were attacked with "stones, bottles and bricks" as they attempted to put out a blaze in Finglas.

The members of Dublin Fire Brigade had gone to the Fairlawn estate after receiving complaints about a bonfire.

However, as they were preparing to tackle the burning pile, their fire tender came under a hail of missiles thrown by a gang of youths.

The front windscreen of the vehicle was smashed.

A spokesman said, from now on, crews will not go on call-outs to bonfires unless accompanied by gardai.

He told the Herald last night's incident happened between 8.30pm and 9pm.

"They were going to a bonfire in Fairlawn in Finglas -- the Halloween season is starting early.

"We tend not to go near bonfires when they are in a field and surrounded by hostile youths.

"But we had got complaints that smoke was going into people's houses," the spokesman said.

He added: "[The firemen] were just starting to tackle it when the crowd turned hostile."

The youths threw "bottles, stones and bricks", smashing the windscreen of the truck.

"The fire appliance had to be taken off the road," the spokesman told the Herald.

Luckily, the firemen escaped being hurt.

"No one was injured, thank God, but they had to pull out straight away and call gardai.

"The modus operandi for the next few weeks is that we will not be going to bonfires unless gardai are in attendance," he said.

A spokesman for the garda said there have been no arrests so far and the matter is under investigation.

Firemen were attacked in the same estate last Halloween as well.

A crew had been called to the scene of a burning car at Fairlawn Road shortly after 10.30pm on November 1 when they were set upon by a gang of at least 40 people.

On that occasion, stones and other items were thrown and the windscreen of the fire engine was smashed.

The latest attack came only days after Dublin Lord Mayor Gerry Breen warned about the dangers posed by Halloween bonfires and fireworks.

He was launching the fire brigade's campaign seeking people of all ages to "be safe and stay safe" during the next two weeks.

"Bonfires and fireworks at Halloween are extremely dangerous and cause a lot of injuries and damage," Mr Breen said.

comurphy@herald.ie

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