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Tyne and Wear fire crews carry out hot strike in Sunderland
written by Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue on the 08th February 2017 at 15:22

Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service is carrying out a two-day community engagement initiative in Sunderland after a weekend that saw a former bingo hall destroyed in a blaze, for which firefighters received unprecedented amounts of praise, and unfortunately three separate attacks on firefighters. At the height of the fire in the building at The Green, Southwick, 50 firefighters were in attendance. All crews finally left the scene almost 24 hours after the alarm was raised just after 5.30pm on Friday, 3 February. As this incident was ongoing, a firefighter was punched in the face by a youth while attending a fire at the TKT Cosyfoam factory in Lambton Lane, Houghton le Spring at around 7.40pm. The firefighter suffered bruising to his cheek but did not require hospital treatment. Police are carrying out enquiries into the incident and are appealing for witnesses to call Northumbria Police on 101 quoting reference 1052 030217 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. Also on the evening of Friday, 3 February, a crew responding to reports of rubbish on fire in Carley Road, Sunderland came under attack from a number of youths throwing stones. Fortunately there were no injuries to the firefighters or damage to the appliance. The third attack took place on Saturday, 4 February at Margaret Thompson Park in Newcastle Road, Sunderland, shortly before 8pm. While responding to another incident involving rubbish set on fire, a crew had stones thrown at them by a gang of youths. Northumbria Police were called and they dispersed the youths to allow the crew to access and deal with the fire. To engage with the community of Southwick, Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service and Northumbria Police are carrying out a co-ordinated hot strike in the area in a bid to increase fire safety awareness and tackle anti-social behaviour. Fire crews, volunteers and neighbourhood police teams will be working in Southwick on Tuesday and Wednesday this week to carry out a number of initiatives. This includes joint assemblies for all year groups at three secondary schools in the area - Castleview, Monkwearmouth and Redhouse. Safety messages will include attacks on firefighters and the impact of anti-social behaviour on fire service resources. Fire safety teams will also be visiting businesses in the area to give advice, while crews and prevention teams will be engaging with residents, who will receive free home safety checks, including the fitting of smoke alarms where appropriate. The fire and rescue service's outreach vehicle will be close to The Green, Southwick to act as a focal point for the local community. Assistant Chief Officer Chris Lowther, Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service, said: “The fire at the former bingo hall in Southwick showed the fire and rescue service at our best, protecting the public, and we've received more positive feedback from the community than I can remember. However, some of the behaviour we saw at the weekend, where our firefighters were attacked, is simply not acceptable, and we need the public's help to tackle these problems. We simply will not tolerate such despicable attacks. “The safety of the public and our firefighters is paramount. We have CCTV cameras fitted to all our appliances, and we will pursue prosecutions where we can. “The work we are carrying out over the next two days highlights how the fire service can work closely with local communities to make a positive difference.” Tyne and Wear Fire Authority Chairman, Cllr Tom Wright, said: “Our fire crews and volunteers are doing a fantastic job of engaging with the community to make them as safe as we can and also help reduce the number of anti-social behaviour incidents. This is a great opportunity to work together with our partners, schools and local residents to make our communities safer.”
 Originally posted at http://www.twfire.gov.uk/news/news/?entryid67=86713...

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