FIREFIGHTERS have been pelted with stones after being called to a fire in a Bolton park.
The incident happened on Tuesday, September 27 at 7.20pm when a call was made to report a fire in a park located in the Rumworth area of Bolton.
On arrival at the park, which can be accessed via Park View Road and Willows Lane, firefighters from Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) were met by a large group of people who started to throw missiles at them – with a stone hitting the helmet of one of the firefighters.
The attack follows two similar incidents in Salford and Wigan last week, which also saw firefighters come under attack.
GMFRS reported 62 incidents of hostilities against firefighters between April 1, 2016 and March 31, 2017, compared with 26 the previous year – that’s an increase of 138 per cent.
So far this financial year (April 1, 2017 to September 28, 2017), the Service as experienced 28 hostilities towards firefighters, including verbal and physical abuse, harassment and objects being thrown at firefighters or fire appliances. The most incidents have occurred in Wigan and Manchester.
Area Manager Paul Etches, GMFRS’ Head of Prevention, said: “I am really saddened to hear of yet another attack on our firefighters who are trying to help the people of Greater Manchester. Our staff work with local communities to try and educate children in particular about these issues but sadly we are still seeing these incidents increase.
“The latest attack resulted in one of our staff members being hit with a stone. Luckily the stone hit the firefighter’s helmet and they weren’t injured and were able to remain in work but this could have been much worse.
“We’re now approaching the Hallowe’en and Bonfire period which is extremely busy time for GMFRS and the other emergency services and incidents like this cause distress to our staff who are just doing their jobs, and put lives at risk. I would urge everyone to think about the impact these incidents have on their communities and please ensure they know where their children are as the evenings get darker.”
Beverley Hughes, Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, said: “To reiterate what I said only last week, these kind of incidents not only affect GMFRS’ firefighters – both mentally and physically – but they also have an impact on the community and potentially put lives at risk.
“Such attacks on emergency service workers take up valuable time and resources that might be needed at incidents elsewhere. This kind of behaviour is totally unacceptable and those who take part in this kind of activity risk facing serious consequences.”