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The North's fire service dealt with a call every 48 seconds last night

Last night saw 57 bonfires across the province ahead of today’s 12 July marches.

Police keep an eye on the Bloomfield bonfire in Belfast.
Police keep an eye on the Bloomfield bonfire in Belfast.
Image: PA Wire/PA Images

PIPE BOMBS AND petrol bombs were thrown at police last night as 11 July celebrations took place in the North.

The North’s Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS) responded to 327 emergency calls and 164 operational incidents up to 1am this morning, a 27% increase.

Last night saw 57 bonfires across the province ahead of today’s 12 July marches.

Police last night dealt with cars being set on fire by masked men in Belfast while a bus was set alight in the Westwinds Estate in Co Down at around 7.30pm.

It was reported that a number of masked men, including one carrying a suspected firearm, hijacked the bus in Blenheim Drive before setting it on fire.

There were passengers on board at the time, but no one was injured.

Alan Walmsley, Assistant Chief Fire Officer of NIFRS told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland that between 10pm and midnight, the service was dealing with a call every 48 seconds. He said that the last two weeks have already been “challenging” and added that firefighters had been attacked in some cases.

“Last night sadly, our crews came under attack in three different locations. Thankfully none of our crews were injured. One of our appliances was slightly damaged in the incident.

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“We made a plea and said let us just do our job, we want to keep the public safe.

“All we can really do is try to keep the public safe.”

Thousands of Orange Order members will march through towns in the North today to mark the 12th of July.

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