WHEN FIREFIGHTERS leave the station they quite often are not sure what they will find as they rush to the scene of a blaze, but what they don't expect to encounter is a bunch of yobs throwing stones at them.
Such was the scene that greeted Dundalk firefighters when they responded just after 9pm to initial reports of a rubbish fire in Cox's Demesne last week.
It wasn't as if this was very late at night, but there are a couple of very disturbing aspects to this, most notably that one of the fire officers was hit on the head with a full, unopened can of beer, and only for he was wearing a very well protected helmet, some of those involved might today be facing very serious charges as a consequence of their actions.
A full can of beer can be a very potent weapon, and the fire officer could have sustained a very serious head injury only for the helmet protected him.
He had gone over to the youths in an effort to try to get them to stop pelting them with stones so they could get on with putting out the fire, but the gang mentality prevailed, and he became a target as well.
Some of those involved are reported to be as young as 14, and Cox's Demesne residents are anxious to point out that they believe these youths came from outside the estate, but it is the second such serious incident involving firefighters to have happened in the area in recent years.
The fire engine was also damaged, and it makes you wonder what is the mentality of these people in trying to cause serious harm to firefighters who on occasion have to put their lives at risk trying to save people from fires.
Their behaviour certainly doesn't do any credit to Dundalk, and I wonder if their own houses were on fire, would they be lying in wait to ambush the firefighters as they rushed to deal with it?
I doubt it very much, but no doubt they would be the very same people who would be complaining if they thought they didn't get there quick enough!