PSNI/RUC petrol bombed on fire duty

D OC donaloc at
Thu Nov 14 08:45:15 MST 2002

Police escorting military firefighters on call-outs in [D]erry came under
petrol bomb attack, it was revealed today.

A mob of around 70 nationalist youths hurled eight petrol bombs at the
escort vehicles while on a call-out to a chip pan fire in the Shantallow
area which proved to be a hoax.

In another part of the same area, police escorting Green Goddesses away from
a fire started in two garden sheds came under stone and petrol bomb attack
from a crowd of 30-40 youths.

The attacks were roundly condemned by police and Sinn Fein and the head of
the Fire Service, who demanded a halt.

The province was plagued by a string of hoax call-outs.

More than 50% of calls in the first 18 hours of the strike action were
hoaxes - 92 of 173, said police.


The Green Goddesses - painted yellow in Northern Ireland to distinguish them
from normal military vehicles - were only going into communities to help the
community, he said.


For once, the police were backed without reservation by Sinn Fein.

[D]erry assembly member Mary Nellis told the youths responsible for attacks
and hoaxes their actions were ``totally irresponsible``.

She said bluntly: ``Desist. No one, no one should try to interfere with
someone trying to tackle a fire.``

Ms Nellis said the youngsters responsible thought their actions were ``a bit
of craic, a bit of fun``.

But she said they should understand the seriousness of the situation. ``You
are not brain dead - stop this childish activity,`` she said.

The Sinn Fein MLA, who said she was on the streets of Derry last night
trying to maintain calm, appealed to parents: ``Keep your children off the
streets while this particular situation lasts.``


In one of the more bizarre call-outs, military firefighters attended a
burning car outside a fire station which had been set alight.

It was normally used for training by the striking fire officers who were
mounting a picket around the corner.


A team also saved a house and its occupant after a petrol bomb attack in
Enniskillen, Co Fermanagh.

As the 500 military firefighters and their 32 Green Goddesses battled to
cope, striking fire officers maintained pickets outside their stations
across the province.


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