2 Irish firefighters 'attacked by thugs' at fire scenes

One firefighter was hit with a bottle the other with a metal bar as they battled the annual bon fire night

The Mirror

LIMERICK, Ireland — Two firefighters have been injured by vicious thugs as they tackled blazes.

One victim was struck in the face by a bottle as he tackled a bonfire on Kilmurray Road, Garryowen, Co Limerick, at around 9 p.m. on Monday.

It was one of 19 blazes the emergency services battled in the city.

The fireman, who is in his 40s and has 20 years' experience, was taken to the Mid-Western Regional Hospital for treatment and was discharged in the early hours of yesterday.

Limerick's Chief Fire Officer Michael Ryan said: "He's sore, but we wish him a speedy recovery. He got three stitches to his face."

Another fireman from Shannon suffered minor injuries when he was hit with an iron bar as he tackled another bonfire at the same location hours later.

Mr Ryan added: "It was an uncharacteristically busy night for us.

"We received assistance from neighbouring fire brigades for which we are very grateful.

"Assaults on emergency personnel are never acceptable.

"We are very concerned and the matter will be pursued through the gardai.

"The cost of the additional attendance of other fire brigades in the city last night is approaching EUR10,000."

Gardai are probing the infernos, lit for "bonfire night" on May Eve — a longstanding annual tradition in Limerick. As the city's fire and rescue service battled 12 different blazes, back-up units were called in to fight seven other blazes at derelict buildings, bins, trees, fences and an ESB pole.

In total, around 40 firemen were deployed from Limerick City, Shannon in Co Clare, Newport in Co Tipperary, as well as Cappamore and Rathkeale.

Mr Ryan added the service needs to respond to incidents quickly.

He said lives at other emergency incidents are put at risk if the public try to hold up firefighters from their work or assault them in the course of their duties.

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