Friday 21 July 2017

Fire crews under pressure as emergency calls soar

A night of violence saw the Fire Brigade receive a total of 701 calls for assistance between the hours of 4pm and 8am – an average of one call every 40 seconds
A night of violence saw the Fire Brigade receive a total of 701 calls for assistance between the hours of 4pm and 8am – an average of one call every 40 seconds
Nicola Anderson

Nicola Anderson

A Halloween of chaos and mayhem saw the Dublin Fire Brigade come under attack with rocks and other missiles thrown at crews, as they sought to respond to incidents.

A night of violence saw the Fire Brigade receive a total of 701 calls for assistance between the hours of 4pm and 8am - an average of one call every 40 seconds - across the Eastern Region, from Cavan to Wexford.

This was in contrast to 595 calls last year.

Dublin was by far the busiest area, with 282 ambulance calls - for a total of 12 ambulances operating - and 290 fire calls, most of which were to bonfires.

Ambulance crews attended 30 assault cases in all.

An ambulance with a ­patient on board was attacked in ­Kilbarrack in north Dublin.

The ambulance had to be taken out of service after a side window was smashed with a glass bottle.

The crew were assaulted by a man who climbed into the ambulance and tried to remove the patient.

Crews were forced to ­withdraw from the scene of a bonfire in west Dublin due to "anti-social behaviour", after being despatched to a location in Clonsilla.

The crews also experienced anti-social behaviour as they responded to a domestic fire in Balbriggan.

Three units of the fire service were attacked as they dealt with the fire, with rocks thrown at personnel as they attempted to tackle the blaze.

More minor call-outs ­included a bonfire built close to an hotel in Donnybrook, south Dublin, which saw the blaze spread to a number of trees; a car that was on fire beside a bonfire in Dublin's north inner city, as well as another fire close to a residential complex near Poplar Row in Dublin 3.

There were also "one or two incidents" where the ­service ­responded to call-outs for ­people suffering burns to the hands, from fireworks or ­bonfires.

Dublin Fire Brigade District Officer Dave Kavanagh said they managed to send someone out to every single one of the 701 call-outs they received.

"There's a perception out there for a minority that we're there to be bricked out of it for putting out their bonfire," he claimed. "It can be very worrying for crews to have a crowd chasing you and throwing stuff at you."

However, crews were only there to put out a bonfire that poses a danger, he said.

One bonfire on Basin Street in Dublin 8 and another one in Sandyford were both lit dangerously close to Luas lines, he revealed.

Irish Independent

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