THOUSANDS of people heeded safety warnings and enjoyed a happy bonfire night at one of Greater Manchester’s organised events – whilst a mindless minority attacked firefighters and set fires across the county.
Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS), which tweeted every incident live from its Twitter account, said more than 300 calls were received between 4.30pm and midnight despite heavy rain.
Among them, a number of wheelie bin fires, fires on waste grounds and a worrying number of fires set in children’s play areas right across the city region.
The worst incidents included one in Sabden Close, Miles Platting, where youths hammered firefighters from Blackley Fire Station with bricks after ripping fences down to start a fire close to electricity sub-station.
And in a second shocking incident Police were called when hose was deliberately slashed as firefighters tackled a fire in Melrose Avenue, Leigh.
But elsewhere in the city a total of more than 68,000 people enjoyed a safe and happy bonfire night at organised events in Heaton Park, Platt Fields and Wythenshawe Park where fires and firework displays were properly managed and hugely successful.
Chairman of Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service Councillor David Acton said he was hugely disappointed to hear of the attack on crew.
“It is so disappointing that whilst thousands of people were enjoying bonfire night as a family night a mindless minority were behaving with such shocking disregard for our staff.
“Firefighters work incredibly hard to keep people in this city safe – especially on bonfire night – and to be greeted by violence, aggression and unnecessary danger in this way is completely outrageous.”
Staff from across the Greater Manchester authorities have worked tirelessly to help keep people safer this autumn.
Community safety staff and firefighters from GMFRS have visited over 600 schools across Greater Manchester.
This year’s Treacle Campaign focussed on asking people to attend organised events and raising awareness of the dangers of flammable Halloween costumes.
A video created by GMFRS, which revealed that some costumes can go up in flames in just nine seconds, was viewed 42,000 times and reached more than 200,000 newsfeeds on Facebook.
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Councillor Acton added: “The Treacle campaign goes from strength to strength every year. It’s wonderful to see all the authorities and emergency services work together to keep the people of Greater Manchester safer during Halloween and Bonfire Night. I would like to thank of our partners, who have shared the safety messages, organised events, and removed illegal bonfire and so much more.”