Portsmouth firefighters attacked with fireworks by gang of '20 to 30' yobs in a night of chaos and violence in city centre
FIRE crews faced a night of chaos and disorder as rampaging gangs of hooligans attacked them with lit fireworks, torched a car and staged bonfire celebrations in a disgraceful breach of lockdown rules.
A group of ‘20 to 30’ thugs pelted two crews of firefighters from Southsea with explosives while the teams were attending an emergency call to extinguish a bonfire.
The outrageous act of violence took place in Duke Crescent, Buckland, shortly before 8pm and forced crews to retreat for their own safety.
It topped off an intense night of pressure for city centre crews who were ‘inundated’ with calls over Bonfire Night, recording a whopping 16 emergency incidents in four hours – more than quadruple that of a normal evening.
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Furious fire chiefs have now lashed out at the yobs and demanded action to tackle the violence, which has escalated in the city in the build up to Guy Fawkes Night.
Andy Weeks, Southsea station manager, condemned the disorder and said: ‘I have never seen anything like this. It was absolutely disgusting.
‘We had two of our crews coming under attack from individuals setting off fireworks at them in Duke Crescent
‘I don’t understand why anyone would launch a firework at emergency service workers who are just trying to do their jobs.
‘Fireworks are an explosive and have the potential to set fire to things, injure people and to kill.
‘I can’t understand why anyone would launch them at another person. It is so dangerous.’
The disorder erupted when crews were first called to break up a bonfire party at Buckland Park, off Malins Road at 7.12pm
Firefighters were verbally abused by a large group of yobs, who were breaching lockdown rules to celebrate Bonfire Night.
Then at 7.49pm they were scrambled once again to Buckland to deal with a second bonfire in Duke Crescent – where they were attacked with fireworks.
Minutes later, at 8.25pm, a team was again scrambled to extinguish a car fire – believed to have been started by yobs who exploded a firework in the vehicle – in Seymore Close.
Crews attended a number of other incidents throughout the night, which included bin fires and other bonfire-related calls.
The chaos came a week after a huge gang of hooded hooligans terrorised Buckland, blasting homes and gardens in Greetham Street with Roman candles, forcing police to beat a retreat for their own safety.
Speaking to The News at the time, Inspector Marcus Kennedy said: ‘This type of behaviour is clearly unacceptable and dangerous to those people involved and the wider community.
‘We have been carrying out work to identify and deal with those involved.’
It’s understood that police and workers from Portsmouth City Council were last night working alongside firefighters in a joint operation to quell the disorder.
Police accompanied some fire teams out on emergency calls, while CCTV operators from the city council helped co-ordinate a city-wide response.