Sunderland Bonfire Night attack on firefighters highlighted in Parliament

The aftermath from the Bonfire Night attack in Southwick
The aftermath from the Bonfire Night attack in Southwick

An horrific Bonfire Night attack on firefighters in Sunderland has been raised in Parliament.

A crew from Marley Park Community Fire Station was attacked after being were called to a bonfire in Southwick.

Damage in Cato Street

Damage in Cato Street

Officers were targeted with missiles and fireworks by a group of youths – aged between about 10 and 19 - who tried to trap the fire engine in the street.
Washington and Sunderland West MP Sharon Hodgson outlined the terrifying attack in two Westminster Hall debates this week.

Speaking on Monday in a debate about the slae of fireworks to the public, she told her fellow MPs: “Firefighters in Sunderland were ambushed by a gang of youths in one of the communities, who had set fire to a car with fireworks.

“They had put the car over the bonfire and the car was alight. They then used other cars — what they call criminal pool cars — to block the estate, so the firefighters were trapped.

“The only reason the firefighters got out was because one of them had ​experience from the Meadow Well riots.”

It is very difficult to comprehend the mindset of someone who actively sets out to physically harm those that we rely upon to keep us safe.

Sharon Hodgson MP

Mrs Hodgson said she was concerned ‘that we are selling explosives that are used against firefighters as well as the public.’

She returned to the subject of the attack in a debate today into the proposed new integrated risk management plan for Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service: “Only a few weeks ago in Southwick, an incident took place that has been described as the worst attack of its kind in a decade,” she said.

“Firefighters were called to an incident in which a car was driven onto a bonfire, then was pelted with bricks, bottles and fireworks and the firefighters were actually ambushed and cordoned in with criminal pool cars.

“It is very difficult to comprehend the mindset of someone who actively sets out to physically harm those that we rely upon to keep us safe.”

Sharon Hodgson MP.

Sharon Hodgson MP.

And she urged the Government to rethink the basis on which it calculates the funding it provides for the fire authority, which was facing a cumulative shortfall of £3.96million by the end of the financial year 2021-22.

“This is a huge shortfall, especially at a time when the pressure on all of our public services is increasing,” she said.

Her comments were echoed by her Houghton and Sunderland South colleague Bridget Phillipson, who said she had secured a debate on funding fro the service in 2012.

“Since then we have seen an increase in incidents, an increase in fires, a massive reduction in the number of firefighters and an increase in response times.

“Since 2010, major cuts and efficiency savings have already been made yet we’re facing even more. We’ve seen some of the worst funding settlements across fire and rescue services in England.”