Yobs who hurled bricks at a fire engine in an ‘appalling’ attack were today branded ‘irresponsible and dangerous’.
Bricks and eggs were thrown at the engine as it pulled up at Firth Park roundabout in Sheffield as firefighters returned to their station after tackling a blaze.
Firefighters escaped unharmed but reported the incident to South Yorkshire Police and an investigation is now under way.
New statistics released today show attacks on fire appliances in South Yorkshire are falling – but between 2010 and 2014 there were 34 similar incidents reported by crews.
Area Manager Mick Mason, of South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue, said: “We are absolutely appalled that our firefighters appear to have been targeted in this way.
“Attacks place the safety of our firefighters – and the people they are trying to protect – at risk.
“But thankfully, this type of incident is extremely rare in South Yorkshire and it is only a tiny minority of people who would ever consider acting in such an irresponsible and dangerous way.
“Attacks on firefighters are falling and we believe the introduction of CCTV on fire engines has contributed to this fall.
“However, even one attack on a firefighter is unacceptable.
“We will work alongside the police to fully investigate any attacks and ensure that those responsible are brought to justice.”
Firefighters were travelling back to Elm Lane station in Shiregreen when their appliance came under attack on Tuesday night.
They had just helped extinguish a blaze on a bus at Manor Park Centre, Manor Park.
That fire, on a 25A service First Bus, is being treated as deliberate by South Yorkshire Police and an investigation into the incident has been launched.
Neil Carbutt, chairman of the Fire Brigades Union in South Yorkshire, said he was disappointed at the attack and that such incidents are ‘extremely worrying’ for the service.
He said: “We are there to provide much valued emergency service to the people of South Yorkshire yet we continue to see these kind of incidents, which is extremely worrying.
He added: “It is also disappointing because we do a lot of community engagement work to try to make areas safer places to be.
“For that to be disregarded and for this to happen when people are just trying to do their jobs is disgusting.
“Attending incidents as a firefighter is stressful enough without having to worry about your own safety when you are travelling to and from them.”
New statistics show there were 12 similar incidents in 2010/11 where missiles were thrown at engines and firefighters.
There were 11 such incidents in 2011/12, eight in 2012/13 and three in 2013/14.
Over the same four-year timeframe, there were 67 incidents where firefighters were subjected to verbal abuse, five where they were physically attacked and 17 where they suffered harassment, according to the figures.
There were 11 other incidents where firefighters reported facing other forms of aggression while out on the job.
Anyone with information about the yobs who thre the stones on Tuesday has been asked to call South Yorkshire police on 101.
Alternatively, call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.