Bonfire Night calls down but incidents up for fire service

Latest figures from Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service show the number of calls received by the Control room on Bonfire Night was the lowest for 17 years.


290 calls were received, which is almost four times the daily average of 83.

Bonfire night remains one of the busiest of the year for the service and this year saw a small increase in the number of incidents actually attended by firefighters, with 170 compared to 162 in 2015. This is more than four times the daily average of 39 throughout the year.

Unfortunately, the weekend also included 9 attacks on firefighters (7 on Saturday and a further 2 on Sunday), an increase from 4 in 2015.

Assistant Chief Fire Officer Chris Lowther, Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, said: “It is totally unacceptable that firefighters were subject to verbal and physical abuse whilst they were carrying out their duties over the weekend. In one particular incident, youths also attempted to interfere with the hose reel while firefighters were working to extinguish rubbish on fire. This is extremely dangerous.

“Thankfully, no one was injured. However, our firefighters should not have to tolerate abuse whilst they are working to protect our local communities on any night of the year. These attacks not only hinder our firefighters from fulfilling their duties, but also risk putting emergency equipment out of action, which could be needed to save lives at any time.

“We are working with Northumbria Police to resolve these issues, including reviewing CCTV footage from the cameras which are fitted on all our fire appliances.”

Incidents attended by Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service this year included a jetty and surrounding undergrowth on fire at a park in Newcastle, a brick shed housing several wheelie bins in Elswick and child’s swing at a playground in Throckley. In each of these incidents, the fires are suspected to have been started deliberately and resulted in substantial damage.

Assistant Chief Fire Officer Chris Lowther, Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, continues: “Our provisional figures show the positive impact our partnership work is having in encouraging local people to enjoy bonfire night safely. However, these figures show that the weekend was still a difficult and risky time, resulting in damage to property and risk to life.

“I’d like to thank our staff for their hard work and professionalism throughout the weekend and in the run up this week. I’d also like to thank our partner agencies and local schools across Tyne and Wear for their support in communicating important safety advice, which has helped our local communities to remain as safe as possible.”

Further stats include:

The number of fires started in wheelie bins increased to 17, compared to 14 in 2015.
Incidents resulting from antisocial behaviour was 68, compared to 75 in 2015.
2 primary fires (involving property) were caused by fireworks – also 2 in 2015.