UNDER SIEGE

By TOBY WALKER

FIREFIGHTERS attending a series of fires in Yamba bushland this week found themselves under siege when a gang of youths attacked them as they battled the blazes.

The Yamba fire crew answered no less than four separate triple-O emergency calls to extinguish deliberately lit fires in scrub behind the Ngaru Community Village on Wednesday.

As firefighters arrived to put the small fires out, a group of between 15 and 20 youths pelted their truck with golf balls and shouted abuse at them from surrounding scrubland.

No one was injured during the incident but firefighters were unhappy about being targeted for abuse by the group as they carried out their duty.

A spokesman for the Yamba firefighters said the crew had just returned to the station after putting one fire out only to receive another emergency call requesting their attendance at a new one.

The four calls were received within a two hour period.

Firefighters made a fifth visit to the area later on that day for another fire.

"We had to go out onto the (Yamba) golf course to get to the fire and when we arrived we had the golf balls thrown at the truck...we put the fire out and the next thing we know, another barrage of golf balls come in," he said.

"Someone could have been hit, blokes had to be at the pump with the truck when it happened and there was a lot of verbal abuse going on too.

"It was getting to the stage where we didn't want to go back down but we've got to, it's our job, we've got to put the fire out before it escalates."

Yamba firefighters had previously made two visits to the same area on Monday for similar incidences.

Yamba police visited the area twice to interview youths in the area but no arrests were made in relation to the fires.

A nearby resident, who wished to remain anonymous, expressed his anger at the treatment dished out to the fire crews and was worried the fires might one day get beyond control.

"These guys are there to do their job and this sort of behaviour is just not on," he said.

"You run the risk that one of these fires is going to get out of hand and there's going to be serious property damage or somebody's going to be seriously injured, if not killed."



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