Washington Firefighters and emergency vehicle attacked in Gateshead twice in one week

A firefighter wearing breathing apparatus.
A firefighter wearing breathing apparatus.
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Washington firefighters have been attacked twice in one week while attending incidents in Gateshead.

Blue Watch crews and their targeted response vehicle (TRV) were set upon ton both Tuesday, September 4, and Wednesday, September 5.

The Washington-based firefighters were responding to deliberately set fire incidents when they faced both verbal and physical attacks by young people.

The crews were said to have received foul mouthed abuse as their emergency vehicle was pelted with stones.

The attacks both occurred in the same location, the Beacon Lough Estate in Gateshead and those responsible were seen in the Craneville play park.

Alan Robson, Assistant Chief Officer at Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, said: "These attacks are indefensible.

"They are not just insulting; they are endangering the lives of committed and dedicated firefighters whose sole purpose is to protect and save the lives and homes of everyone in our community.

"Damage to our TRV could also result in it being off the road and not available for emergency use.

"We are cooperating with our colleagues in Northumbria Police to ensure that those responsible are caught.”

Last year In Tyne and Wear, there were 54 attacks on firefighters, ranging from harassment and verbal abuse to physical abuse and items being thrown at them and their vehicles.

Northumbria Police Neighbourhood Inspector Alan Pitchford said: “Firefighters are there to keep us safe and ultimately save people’s lives.

"It is not acceptable that they should face being attacked while trying to carry out that duty.

"We will not tolerate this type of behaviour and will take firm action against anyone who thinks it is acceptable to target firefighters in this way – what you are doing is

dangerous and could cost lives.”

The number of incidents of firefighter attacks is on the rise, and tends to peak during the Halloween/Bonfire period.

Crew Manager Steven Burns, who was one of the firefighters attacked in Gateshead, said: “It’s just beyond belief that this should happen to firefighters or any other member of

the emergency services, while we’re doing our job. We’re here to keep the community safe and shouldn’t have to put up with any form of abuse.”

Anyone with information about those responsible for the most recent incidents is asked to call police on 101.