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Gun attacks on West Yorkshire fire crews condemned
Firefighters across the Bradford district have been attacked with a firearm, stones and fireworks while doing their jobs.
Crews have also had a shovel and a ball-bearing gun brandished at them, been assaulted and suffered racial abuse, according to information released by West Yorkshire Fire Service.
The figures reveal that in 34 months between January, 2011, and October, 2013, firefighters were on the receiving end of 97 attacks, with varying degrees of severity, while attending or responding to emergency calls or while carrying out community safety work.
In the time period, Bradford firefighters were attacked 19 times, Illingworth on 16 occasions, Fairweather Green 14 times and Keighley 13 times.
Fairweather Green suffered the worst of the attacks, with three classed as the most severe.
Two occasions were when firefighters attending an emergency call were hit with a stone by an attacker, resulting in firefighters being injured.
The third incident, while crews were doing community safety work, saw a firefighter shot with a pellet gun.
There were two incidents on the next level of severity – one of which again involved Fairweather Green and saw fire crews threatened with a BB gun.
The other, in February this year, saw firefighters at Idle station threatened with a shovel.
Some 46 of the 97 attacks were classed as the lowest level of severity and include aggressive behaviour and verbal abuse – as well as one occasion when an Odsal firefighter was racially abused.
There were 34 attacks classed as level two on the scale, which included missiles being thrown and stoning.
Level three – fireworks thrown or physical assault – saw 12 incidents. Five of them happened to Bradford firefighters.
Fire Brigades Union general secretary Matt Wrack said: “It is beyond belief that firefighters are attacked while fighting fires and trying to save lives.
“In some areas, attacking fire crews has become a recreational activity with very serious consequences.
“It cannot be part of anyone’s job to face abuse, threats or attacks.”
The FBU’s 2008 report into attacks suggested that about 40 attacks on fire crews occurred across the country every week.
The other Bradford district-serving stations and the number of attacks they suffered between January 2011 and October 2013 were: Odsal (ten); Idle (eight); Shipley (six); Stanningley (six); Morley (two); Bingley (one); Brighouse (one); and Rawdon (one).
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