Firefighters tackle chaotic night of Halloween call-outs

Firefighters tackle chaotic night of Halloween call-outs

Firefighters across the country were putting their lives on the line to tackle bonfires and dangerous fireworks last night.

There were more than 320 call-outs for fires in Dublin alone in a 24-hour period leading up to Halloween night.

The Garda Public Order Unit was called out to west Finglas, and crews from Tallaght Fire Station dealt with a bonfire under ESB Networks pylons off the Fonthill Road.

Meanwhile, the Dublin Fire Brigade responded to an incident where a car was driven into a bonfire in Clondalkin. There were no casualties in the incident.

A spokeswoman for Dublin Fire Brigade explained that they take risk assessments on each fire because they cannot attend each call-out.

A live online map of the capital, created by the service, highlighted the areas where bonfires were being tended to.

The spokeswoman said there had been no injuries to firefighters.

"There's been no issues of any of our crews being under attack, thankfully nothing like that has happened," she said.

"The incidents seem to be very spread around the city. It tends to kick off from 5pm until about 11pm. We've had 320 call-outs from 6pm [Sunday] until 5pm [yesterday], that's probably about triple the [average] number of calls," she added.

Despite fears of attacks on firefighters, the spokeswoman said that the training exercises undergone by crews were designed with Halloween in mind.

"Our staff are always prepared for Halloween. In a sense, Halloween is what they're really trained for in some ways," she said.

One of the most prominent areas for bonfires in the capital last night was Darndale, with around a dozen different fires alight in the area.

Children as young as 10 could be seen spreading fire around with burning embers.

Meanwhile in Clongriffin, disaster was averted after a loose firework landed on the roof of an apartment complex and set it on fire.

Three fire engines and a turntable ladder were on hand to put out the small blaze. It is understood that there were no injuries reported from the incident.

In Dublin's north inner city, a bonfire close to 25-feet high was being monitored heavily by gardaí, with more than 10 members of the force on hand around the Sheriff Street area.

However, the size of the bonfire, containing mainly wood pallets, was played down by locals, with one resident saying: "They're getting smaller every year - you'd just wonder what it'll be like next year," he said.

In Clondalkin, a car was driven into a bonfire. However, Dublin Fire Brigade said that there were no injuries during the incident, which took place in Quarryvale.

"What they [staff] expect is to be very busy all night. In fairness, it's usually relentless. They're well prepared. You can't put out every fire so our officers would be assessing the bonfires in certain areas and if they feel they are becoming more dangerous or a threat to the area or the people, then they'll take action but they don't have to always take action," the spokeswoman added.

Dublin Fire Brigade tended to a number of fires last night that were situated in close proximity to houses, which the fire service believes to be very dangerous.

Ryan Nugent