Firefighters suffer 'significant' bruising after youths attacked with baseball bats and bricks
Two firefighters were attacked by a gang of youths armed with a baseball bat, bricks and an iron bar while attending a blaze in north Belfast.
The shocking attack happened at around 8.43 pm in the New Lodge Road area on Friday night, following reports of a car on fire.
But when the two firefighters - one male and one female - arrived on the scene, they were attacked by a group of a youths.
One female firefighter suffered significant bruising to her arms and ribs, while her male colleague suffered bruising to his leg.
Police appeal for info re incident at New Lodge Rd on Friday evening. Stolen car set alight & firefighters attacked by crowd. Info on 101.— PSNI (@PoliceServiceNI) September 12, 2015
Geoff Somerville, group commander told the Belfast Telegraph it was a "worrying pattern" and condemned the assault on his staff.
"I would appeal to the entire community to condemn the attack," he said.
"I wish the firefighters a rapid recovery."
He warned about the potential impact such attacks could have on the ability of the emergency services to do their jobs.
He also appealed for anyone with information to come forward to police.
In a statement, SDLP MLA Alban Maginness, who represents North Belfast, said those youths involved in the attack were a "disgrace to us all".
“The people who carried out this vicious attack on those who risk their lives in order to protect others are a disgrace to us all.
"The firefighters were assaulted by a gang throwing bricks and stones and as a result two firefighters were taken to hospital.
“My thoughts are with the two fire crew members and I hope they make a swift recovery."
Adding: “Those who were behind it clearly do not reflect the majority of people who live here. I would appeal to anyone with information to go to the police.
"As a community we must come together to protect the very best among us, and there are few who display such selfless courage as firefighters day in and day out.”