Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 27 August 2014

Fire chief in warning after attack

Youths damaged a fire engine in Airdrie

A fire chief has warned it is only a matter of time before a firefighter is killed in a "mindless" attack after youths damaged an engine.

Stone-throwing youngsters smashed the rear window of the £250,000 appliance as crews tackled a fire in Hillfoot Road, Airdrie, North Lanarkshire, on Sunday night.

The vehicle's grille was also damaged during the incident and it is temporarily out of service while it is repaired.

It is the second attack of its kind in the area in less than a month.

David Goodhew, Strathclyde Fire & Rescue Service's operations director and assistant chief officer, warned that those who target crews will feel the "full force of the law" if caught.

He said: "Firefighters risk their lives to protect the communities they serve, and it is despicable that a small, isolated minority of those very communities choose to attack them.

"These mindless attacks put firefighters in harm's way unnecessarily and it's only a matter of time before a firefighter is badly injured, or even killed, in one of these incidents.

"Aside from the human cost of these attacks, there are wider consequences. Fire appliances cost around £250,000 each, and having these invaluable pieces of equipment put out of commission while being repaired after an act of vandalism puts the community at a whole at a higher risk from fire.

"Strathclyde Fire and Rescue operates a zero-tolerance policy to those who attack our firefighters. We will work closely with our partners in the police to identify anyone involved in attacks on our crews."

The fire service said it has adequate cover to cope with the fire engine being temporarily out of service.

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