The Fire Service has called on community leaders and parents to use their influence to control young people after a firefighter was injured in the second attack on emergency services in North Belfast in the space of a month.
The firefighter received injuries to the foot and leg after his crew were attacked last night with bricks at Ballysillan playing fields as they responded to a report of debris on fire. When the crew arrived from Springfield fire station there was a large crowd of young people gathered at the scene, some of whom began hurling missiles at firefighters.
“As they were extinguishing the fire there was a large group of youths present,” said group commander Chris Fee. “The majority were good natured, however a small number of these youths started to throw stones and bricks. The firefighter sustained injuries to his foot and lower leg. He was taken to the Mater Hospital where he was x-rayed and examined.”
Mr Fee asked community leaders and parents to use their influence to bring such attacks to a halt.
“It’s always a very small minority of people who do this,” he said. “The majority of the community are very supportive of the firefighters. These are community firefighters. These are men and women carrying out a job to help the community. I would ask that community leaders and parents bring whatever influence or good counsel they can to bear to stop this sort of behaviour from happening in the future. If firefighters are injured and are not on duty this will have a knock-on effect on our ability to attend more serious incidents.”
On September 11, two firefighters were injured when a crew was attacked with bricks, a baseball bat and an iron bar in the New Lodge district of North Belfast. Firefighters were dealing with a burning car when a number of youths launched the attack. A female firefighter received bruising to the ribs and arm and a male firefighter received a leg injury.
The female firefighter has not yet returned to work. The firefighter injured in last night’s attack is back on duty.