FIREFIGHTERS attending an incident in Lenadoon last night came under attack from youths throwing stones.

The fire crew were called to reports of an electric box on fire on Suffolk Road at 8:15pm, but were attacked upon arrival at the scene. The firefighters withdrew from the scene at 8:26pm for safety reasons.

Northern Ireland Fire & Rescue Service (NIFRS) Group Commander Davy Harbinson said the attack “resulted in one of our firefighters receiving a cut to the nose, and two windows in a fire appliance being broken". 

“Our firefighters are here to keep communities safe," he said. "This attack was senseless, and we are calling on the community to support us by not attacking our firefighters. Every time someone attacks our firefighters, they are making their own community less safe.

“We are aware that this sort of behaviour comes from a small minority of people. People deserve to feel safe in their communities and we will continue working closely with community groups, statutory agencies and elected representatives to try and prevent attacks like this from happening again.”     

Sinn Féin Councillor Arder Carson condemned the attacks and said he will be meeting with the Fire Service and elected representatives to plan a way forward to dealing with these incidents. 

“Firefighters were attending an incident last night on the Suffolk Road and a few young ones decided to stone them, which smashed two windows in the appliance and then injured a firefighter. This is outrageous in the course of their work responding to the community. It’s an absolute disgrace. I condemn it outright.

Damage caused to the appliance

Damage caused to the appliance

“The Fire Service provides a vital service for communities right across the north. They’re very well supported and respected in relation to the work that they do. When you get a fire appliance that is withdrawn from service, it does put other people’s lives at risk because it’s not available to respond. It’s outrageous and rightly condemned by the community.

“We’re organising a meeting with elected representatives and the Fire Service, and I’m going to try and get the PSNI involved in it too to see if we can plan some way forward in dealing with these incidents or certainly how we can best prevent them from happening.”