Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham has blasted yobs who ambushed a fire engine in which he was riding out with a crew.
The former Leigh MP’s vehicle came under attack from youths throwing fireworks while attending an emergency in Bolton on Bonfire Night.
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It was one of 222 incidents that crews from across the county - including Wigan borough - attended in the one evening.
More than 50 fire engines with either four or five firefighters on board each were on duty but many of them faced hostilities and attacks during the evening, with the most serious incidents including fireworks and bricks being thrown at crew.
At the height of the evening, GMFRS revealed that so many calls were received that half the service’s total resources were deployed.
Fireworks were pushed through letterboxes and thrown at crew, including the one in Bolton that Mr Burnham witnessed at first hand.
Mr Burnham said: “The hostilities I witnessed against our firefighters last night are fundamentally unacceptable. These are men and women who are putting their own safety on the line to keep us and our communities safe.
"I call on the police to do everything they can to find those responsible and call on anyone who knows who these mindless individuals are to do the right thing and hand them in.”
Deputy Mayor of Greater Manchester Beverley Hughes condemned those who attacked firefighters.
She said: “Our firefighters did a tremendous job in difficult and demanding circumstances. It is completely unbelievable and unacceptable that firefighters should come under attack when trying to keep people safe.
“Our message is clear: we won’t tolerate attacks on our firefighters under any circumstances and those responsible should be ashamed. We raised this issue in advance and yet some people still found it funny to throw fireworks and missiles at our crews. It is despicable behaviour.”
In addition, the service asked people to attend organised bonfires and fireworks displays and many people did, with huge attendances at the area’s three most well-known and biggest displays.
Ms Hughes added: “Attending an organised display is safer and helps us cut down the number of private bonfires that cause people concern. We would like to thank everyone who acted responsibly and enjoyed bonfire night. It is a great tradition in this country but unfortunately spoiled by a few mindless people.”