Fire Service reports 21 attacks on firefighters in the last year
Richard Youle, local democracy reporter
Firefighters in Mid and West Wales came under attack 21 times over the last 12 months and had to call for police backup five times because they felt threatened.
Last December police were called to Mill Stream Way, Swansea Enterprise Park, Swansea, because fire crews were being attacked. A report before the fire authority’s resource management committee said there was also a threat to police vehicles on that occasion.
The previous month, on Bonfire night, fire crews reported being under attack with fireworks by residents of an unnamed travellers’ site. Police officers took statements from the crews but considered after investigation that it wasn’t an attack.
In January this year, fire crews requested police support when they were called out to a commercial address off Blawd Road, Swansea Vale, because of the location.
The other incidents comprised dangerous driving and threats to firefighters at a grass fire, and a “controlled burn” where a person refused entry to firefighters and then became aggressive.
A spokesman for Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service said: “One attack is too many and we are saddened and appalled by incidents of this nature.
“Our firefighters have been attacked for only doing their job.
“Our firefighters are ready to respond at a moment’s notice and often place their lives at risk in order to save the lives of others and protect the communities that they serve.”
He added: “Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service takes a zero-tolerance approach to physical threats and attacks towards our staff and we are working with the police to bring the perpetrators to justice.”
Speaking after the resource management meeting, committee chairman, Cllr Des Thomas, said he and his colleagues were 100% behind firefighters.
“Members quite rightly felt upset that the public abused firefighters in this way,” he said.
The committee report also said there were 56 injuries reported by firefighters, support staff and contractors in 2020-21, but none were serious.
There were 85 reported vehicle accidents in the same period, one costing just under £30,000 to repair and another just over £24,000.
The Mid and West Wales Fire Service area covers Carmarthenshire, Ceredigion, Neath Port Talbot, Pembrokeshire, Powys and Swansea.
The service has 399 full-time and 611 retained firefighters, and the budget for day-to-day costs was £52 million in 2020-21.