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Dublin: 8 °C Saturday 28 March, 2020

Two fire crews attacked while responding to bonfire incidents in the North

The fire service responded to around 40 bonfire-related incidents last night.

The Twelfth celebrations A bonfire at Ravenscroft Avenue in Belfast. Source: PA Images

TWO FIRE CREWS have been attacked after attending a bonfire in the North this morning, a fire official said, after what’s been a busy night for firefighters in Northern Ireland.

“Sad to see 2 of our fire crews attacked as they were leaving bonfire incidents this morning after working so hard to protect the community,”  Assistant Chief Fire Officer Alan Walmsley tweeted out this morning.

No firefighters were injured, the fire service said.

The Twelfth celebrations Firefighters dampen nearby homes as a bonfire at Ravenscroft Avenue in Belfast. Source: PA Images

Giant bonfires are lit in Northern Ireland on the 12th July as part of a loyalist tradition.

Northern Ireland’s Fire Service (NIFRS) responded to 40 bonfire-related incidents last night, out of a total of 133 incidents. That represents an increase of 21% on the number of bonfire incidents compared to this time last year.

“Between 6pm 11 July and 1am 12 July, we received 213 emergency calls and attended 133 operational incidents – a 49% increase during the same period in 2016,” the fire service said, describing it as a “very busy night”.

During its busiest periods, NIFRS Regional Control Centre handled an emergency 999 call every minute.

The Twelfth celebrations Firefighters douse nearby buildings as a bonfire is lit in Albertbridge Road, Belfast. Source: PA Wire/PA Images

Sinn Féin have condemned the bonfires, particularly those that have shown effigies of nationalists and Sinn Féin members.

Yesterday, John Finucane, the son of murdered human rights lawyer Pat Finucane, said that he would make a report of hate crime to the PSNI after his election poster was found strapped to a bonfire.

Another bonfire prepared in east Belfast was spotted bearing a coffin with an effigy of Martin McGuinness on it. Sinn Féin national chairperson Declan Kearney called the McGuinness display “a particularly sickening manifestation of hate”.

Marches will begin later today to mark the key date in the protestant loyal order marching season.

Read: Coffin with effigy of Martin McGuinness on loyalist bonfire in east Belfast

Read: Sinn Féin member reports hate crime after election posters placed on bonfire

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