Firework thrown at paramedics in Newry
Man charged after device explodes as casualty is treated in street
The Ambulance Service has said it was nothing but "good fortune" that a paramedic was not seriously injured when a firework was thrown at a 999 crew.
Police have charged a 20-year-old man with offences in connection with the attack on an ambulance crew in Newry in the early hours of yesterday morning.
The paramedics were treating a patient in the Trevor Hill area of the city, outside a nightclub, when a firework was thrown at them and exploded close to their feet.
Both medics were left shocked and their hearing slightly impaired after the attack.
However, despite their uniforms being burned, they continued to treat their patient and transported him to Daisy Hill for further treatment.
A spokesman for the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service said: "We are particularly concerned at this incident given that it occurred in such a confined space thereby increasing the potential for more serious injury to the crew and others present.
"Our paramedics have witnessed at first-hand the devastating impact of fireworks injuries.
"This was reckless with the lives of our staff and that no one was seriously injured is a result of nothing more than good fortune.
"The person who threw this firework obviously thought it was great fun when, in actual fact, the opposite is true."
Following the attack the crew had to be stood down while they gave statements to the police, which reduced emergency cover in the area.
The spokesman added: "This incident also had a knock-on impact on the provision of our service in the Newry area as the crew, who to their credit – and in stark contrast to the actions of the individual responsible – continued to provide care to their patient.
"But they were unavailable to respond to further calls immediately after the incident as they were required to make statements to the police.
"Their temporary unavailability had the potential to impact negatively on our response to life-threatening emergency calls."
Yesterday, police charged a 20-year-old man with two counts of common assault, two counts of criminal damage, possession of an offensive weapon and disorderly behaviour.
He is expected to appear before Newry Magistrates today and, as is usual procedure, the charges will be reviewed by the Public Prosecution service.