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Monday, 24 November 2014

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Family and firefighters targeted in Carlisle bonfire terror

A family have spoken of their terror after yobs started a fire outside their home, leaving young children suffering smoke inhalation.

Chris Day photo
Chris Day with the remains of fire in Marks Avenue, Carlisle

It was one of a series of bonfire night attacks, another of which saw firefighters attacked with stones and fireworks as they tackled an out of control blaze.

The first incident happened in Marks Avenue, Raffles, Carlisle, at about 11.30pm.

Stacy Dudley had put her two children, aged six and two, to bed when she was alerted to the blaze by a neighbour. It was in the close right next to her house.

It spread to the fence and into the garden, where it destroyed the children’s trampoline.

Her home – and the children’s bedrooms – began to fill with smoke. The terrified mother quickly moved the youngsters to the front of the house, which was not as badly affected.

Along with her partner Neil Pearson she then rushed to the garden to move anything else that could catch light.

“They could have killed my children,” said Stacy. “I’ve just come out of hospital after breathing difficulties.”

She said that her two children were feeling sick this morning because of smoke inhalation. However, she was sending them to school so she can spend today airing the house.

Mandy Stewart, the neighbour who spotted the fire, said: “I was in bed and I could hear something being dragged up the street, then five minutes later I heard a big bang.”

Mandy, who had just that day been told she has cancer, then went outside, saw the fire and ran to alert Stacy.

Her friend Chris Day, who was visiting to comfort her following diagnosis, said he was appalled by the fire. “It’s not on,” he added.

Both Stacy and Mandy said there had been regular problems in the close and called on anyone who witnessed the fire being started to contact the police.

Stacy shared the photos on Facebook in a bid to catch the culprits.

Also in the west of the city, firefighters were attacked while attending a call in Dowbeck Road, off Dalston Road, just after 8.35pm. Yobs threw stones and fireworks at crew members as they tried to tackle blazes last night.

An eyewitness told the News & Star that around 40 people were at the bonfire, some of who he saw throwing objects at police and fire officers.

“It was just mayhem,” he said.

There were also reports of a similar incident in Brookside, Raffles.

Firefighters were forced to leave the scene while police were called.

A fire service spokeswoman said: “Crews came under attack and so they left the scene.”

This morning contractors were cleaning up the scene in Dowbeck Road.

Also in Carlisle, firefighters were last night called out to other bonfires at Hassell Street, Pennine Way, Meadow View and Rashdall Road, among others.

Overall it was a busy night for emergency services right across the county. In Workington, firefighters were called out to unsafe bonfires six times.

The crew attended the first fire at 6.10pm with the last call coming in just after 10pm. They were in the Seaton, Clifton and Salterbeck areas.

PMcGowan@cngroup.co.uk

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