Fire-fighters warn over ‘unacceptable’ attacks following Derry incident

The car which was burnt out in Galliagh overnight.
The car which was burnt out in Galliagh overnight.

Fire-fighters have spoken out after they came under attack from “a large crowd” while attending the scene of an arson attack in Galliagh.

The Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service warned that incidents such as the scenario that unfolded at Fairview Road on Wednesday night were “socially unacceptable”.

A Fire & Rescue Service (NIFRS) spokesperson said they received a call from PSNI at 8.44pm and dispatched an appliance from Northland.

She said: “On arrival the crew came under attack from a large crowd of youths and as a result had to withdraw from the scene. Thankfully there were no injuries to firefighters and whilst no damage was caused to the appliance, we would appeal to the local community not to threaten or attack Firefighters responding to emergency calls.

“These attacks are not only socially unacceptable but they can be detrimental to the whole community if Firefighters or appliances are hindered in any way when responding to emergency calls.”

She added: “Dealing with deliberate fires ties up vital NIFRS resources from other more serious incidents and potentially puts people and property at risk.

“A later call was made at 22.42 and Firefighters returned to the scene and dealt with the deliberate car fire.

“NIFRS continues to work closely with schools, community associations, local

Representatives and statutory agencies across the City to raise awareness of the dangers of deliberate fires and reduce the number of attacks on Firefighters.”

Staff at the Spar shop on Fairview Road were force to close early due to smoke from the car fire, which was then deliberately reignited in the early hours of yesterday. Some residents took to the streets to protest earlier on Wednesday evening over the antics of the joyriders.

Independent Councillor Warren Robinson said the incident was “simply the latest in a series over recent nights. There is no place within Galliagh for those intent on wrecking the area.”

Sinn Féin Councillor Elisha McCallion said those responsible had put lives at risk, and branded the culprits “thugs” who were “death-driving around the area”. She said: “The residents of the greater Galliagh area are fed up with the antics of this minority element and demand that they cease this activity before there is a fatality or serious injury.”

SDLP Councillor Brian Tierney meanwhile said: “These people need to think about how their actions affect the local community and stop this behaviour.”