Fire chiefs condemn mindless attacks on firefighters on Bonfire Night

West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service chiefs have slammed the actions of individuals who subjected crews in the Keighley area to attacks on Bonfire Night.

Due to a string of incidents in Keighley yesterday evening, including one attack on the fire station premises, crews were temporarily relocated to the nearby police station.

This allowed them to be deployed to incidents alongside police for around one hour until tensions in the area dispersed. 

The timeline of incidents is as follows:

At 2048 hrs Haworth crew attended fire in open in Highfield Lane, Keighley, and had to withdraw due to youths throwing fireworks at them.

At 2123 hrs Belgrave Road, Keighley, fire in takeaway shop. Crew from Haworth attended and had to withdraw due to having eggs thrown at them.

At 2149 hrs a skip in the yard at Keighley Fire Station was deliberately set on fire by youths. The Haworth engine was on standby duties whilst the Keighley engine was attending another incident. When firefighters went to deal with the skip fire they came under attack from youths throwing stones at them. Police also attended the incident.

At 2158 hrs, Belgrave Road, Keighley. The Haworth crew was deployed to a fire in the open and attended at the request of police. Approximately 30 youths had barricaded the road and set a fire.  The Haworth engine came under attack during which the engine’s windscreen was broken by missiles. Crews withdrew from the area immediately. The Haworth engine had to be taken off the run.

At 22:40 hrs due to local civil disturbance in the Keighley area the WYFRS ‘Bonfire Response Plan’ was put into place. This meant a temporary relocation of the Keighley wholetime engine and Silsden retained engine to the nearby police station in Royd Ings Avenue, from where they were deployed. Crews continued to attend incidents alongside police.

Police resources went to Keighley Fire Station alongside the Fire Station Manager to ensure the building was secured.

Extra fire resources were also called upon to provide support to the Keighley area and were based at Bingley Fire Station. These additional resources comprised of an engine from Rawdon, Hunslet and Shipley.

At 2309 hrs crews returned to Belgrave Road, Keighley to put the fire out.

By 0030 hrs crews were returned to Keighley Fire Station.

Area Manager for Fire Safety Ian Bitcon said: “We completely condemn these abhorrent actions which put our firefighters in jeopardy.

“Not only that but the Haworth engine had to be temporarily taken off the run on the fire service’s busiest night of the year due to a broken windscreen which costs in the region of £2,000 to buy and fit.

“We are currently working alongside police and will be providing our silent witness CCTV footage to aid their investigation.”

These incidents follow on from a fireworks attack in crews in Keighley on November 4 in the Devonshire Park area. See separate press release here.