Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service
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TWO ‘completely unacceptable’ attacks on firefighters have taken place while responding to 999 calls this week.
The first attack occurred when firefighters were called to reports of a fire on Holly Grove, Leigh, at 8.14pm on Monday (October 9) night.
When firefighters arrived at the incident they found a mattress on fire in the alleyway behind the houses in Holly Grove, which they were able to quickly extinguish.
Once the fire was out and they were leaving the incident the fire engine they were riding in came under attack, with youths throwing small pieces of stone and cement at them. Some of these pieces struck the fire engine, causing minor damage to the body.
Less than 24 hours later (5.49pm, Tuesday, October 10) another 999 call was made to report a fire in the woodland area near to Cedar Road, Leigh.
On arrival firefighters found 5 wheelie bins alight and proceeded to attempt to put the fire out. Their efforts were soon hindered when they came under attack from a group of youths throwing rocks at them. Luckily no one was hit, as the firefighters were able to dodge all incoming missiles whilst extinguishing the fire with a hose reel. However once back in the fire engine, another volley of missiles was launched, striking the vehicle, again causing minor damage to the body.
Group Manager for Bolton and Wigan, Lee Coleman said: “This week firefighters have attended two deliberate fires in Holly Grove and Cedar Avenue, part of the Tree’s Estate, Westleigh.
“When crews arrived at each of the incidents they were attacked by youths, who threw bricks and stones at them and the fire engine. This is completely unacceptable behaviour when our firefighters are working hard to protect our community.
“These attacks not only put our firefighters at risk, but also prevents them from attending other incidents, where potentially people’s lives could be at risk. Over the coming weeks, we will be working with our partners to stress the impact of this behaviour on our service.”
Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime Beverley Hughes, said: “This is the sixth time firefighters have been attacked in the space of two weeks, with two of those attacks occurring in a 24 hour window just this week. These attacks take up the extremely valuable time and resources of our emergency services and will not be tolerated.
“There will be serious consequences for anybody that is found to be involved in this sort of behaviour and we will work closely with Greater Manchester Police to investigate any attacks on our emergency services.”