Fire chief 'absolutely disgusted' over stone attack that left firefighter in hospital

3 December 2019, 12:21 | Updated: 3 December 2019, 12:23

A fire engine races to an emergency call
A fire engine races to an emergency call. Picture: Getty
Sylvia De Luca

By Sylvia De Luca

A firefighter was hit in the head by a stone and had to be taken to hospital when their crew in East Sussex was "verbally and physically attacked."

The firefighters were tackling a tree fire when they were targeted by a group of young people on Monday evening, police said.

Pebbles and planks of wood were reportedly launched at the firefighters during the incident.

Dawn Whittaker, chief fire officer for East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service, said she was "absolutely disgusted" by the attack.

Speaking on Twitter, Ms Whittaker said: "I am absolutely disgusted by the fact that our Eastbourne crew were verbally and physically attacked by a group of young people last night when attending a tree fire, we have passed this matter to Sussex Police and I want to be clear that violence of any kind is unacceptable.

"One firefighter taken to hospital after a stone hit him in the head ... it's just shocking that people want to harm the very people that risk their lives to keep them safe ... very sad."

Replying to her tweet, many social media users were outraged with one saying: "That’s appalling. So sorry that the crew was subjected to abuse and hope the police apprehend those involved."

Another said: "It’s just shocking that people want to harm the very people that risk their lives to keep them safe...very sad."

The fire, which is not being treated as suspicious, occurred in Shinewater Park in Eastbourne, East Sussex.

Firefighters were called to the blaze at 6.11pm, with police called at about 6.30pm.

Sussex Police said that officers searched the area but no suspects were found.

Anyone who witnessed the incident or may have further information is asked to contact police.

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