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Last Updated: Tuesday, 16 September, 2003, 06:21 GMT 07:21 UK
Youths attack firefighters
The crew was tackling a blaze at a derelict house
The crew was tackling a blaze at a derelict house
A gang of youths attacked firefighters and stole some of their equipment as they tackled a fire in west Belfast.

One officer was punched in the face and another was hit by a stone.

About 30 youths pelted the crew with stones at the scene of the fire at Lady Mar Walk off the Grosvenor Road at 1900 BST on Monday.

Equipment, including axes, bolt cutters and a sledgehammer, were stolen.

The firefighters were responding to a report of fire at a derelict building. It had been started deliberately.

Two hours later, the building was set alight again. Smoke damage was caused to a nearby house which is a family home.

Divisional Fire Officer Ken Leatham said the situation proved difficult to deal with.

"The fire appliances were having to be protected and secured by half of the firefighters, while the other half got on and dealt with the fire itself.

"However, I must stress that the local community have been working hand in hand with the fire brigade.

"A number of items of equipment which were stolen off the fire appliances have actually been handed back by the local community," he said.

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20 May 03  |  Northern Ireland
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24 Feb 01  |  Northern Ireland

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