Belfast Telegraph

Fire crews attacked at Belfast's Sandy Row and Larne bonfire sites

Bottles thrown at firefighters

By Sue Doherty

Two fire crews came under attack in Northern Ireland while attending bonfires on Tuesday night in Belfast and Larne.

Assistant chief fire officer Alan Walmsley told the Belfast Telegraph that exhausted crews had been battling fires in "very punishing conditions" for hours when they were attacked.

"We had four appliances trying to protect property in Wellwood street, off Sandy Row. They'd been there for a number of hours and, towards the end of the incident, when they were leaving, one of the appliances was attacked when a number of bottles were thrown at it.

"Similarly, in Larne, crews were dealing with a bonfire related incident and, as they were leaving, bottles were thrown at one of the appliances."

He said the attacks are "very disappointing" because there had been no attacks on fire crews for the last five years.

"We are there to protect property. We engage with the community and this sort of thing had stopped. We're not saying that the people who did this are from those areas.

"It's very disappointing that it happened last night all the same.

"Thankfully, there were no injuries."

The assistant chief said that the two most challenging fires crews deal with on Tuesday night were the bonfire at Wellwood Street, where flames threatened a 10 storey apartment block, and at Bloomfield Walkway, where the size of the bonfire also posed a risk to neighbouring properties.

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