Fireman forced to flee estate after attack by youths

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A fireman had to flee from Dunclug estate after coming under attack in the early hours of Sunday morning.

It is understood that the man was part of a team which saved a person from a burning flat in Dunclug Park.

When he went to leave the area, bottles and bricks were thrown at him.

“He was shocked and very, very quickly realised the severity of the attack upon him,” said Group Commander Max Joyce.

“He got into his car and got away from there.”

The fire was reported at about 4.40am and is being treated as deliberate.Substantial damage was caused to the flat, but there were no reports of any injures as a result of the fire.

Mr Joyce said this is one of a series of attacks on firefighters in the Ballymena district in recent weeks.

“Over the past few weeks we’ve been attacked in other areas of Ballymena, some of those involved have been as young as ten years old,” he explained.

TUV Timothy Gaston said reports that the fire in Dunclug Park could have been due to an arson attack are ‘most concerning.’

“The sheer disregard for human life is shameful, and coupled with the attack on Fire Service by people throwing bricks and bottles at them it is utterly inexcusable. The Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service put their bodies on the line to save lives, and it is attacks such as this that make an already difficult job even harder.

“Damage caused to emergency vehicles can put them off the road, or take a crew member away from their duties – that can result in those in need of their services not being able to receive it. How would you feel emergency response was delayed coming to one of your family or friends because of this reckless behaviour?

“I would appeal to anyone with information on either the arson or fire service attacks to contact the PSNI.”