By Cara Sulieman
A TEENAGER has been arrested after trying to steal a fire engine as firefighters battled to tackle a blaze.
Staff from Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue were ambushed by a group of youths as they tried to put out flames at West Pilton Children’s Centre in Edinburgh.
The yobs pelted the crew with eggs and jumped inside the truck as crews did their best to get on with their job.
A 15-year-old was arrested and has been charged after allegedly getting into the vehicle and revving the engine in an attempt to drive off.
The scene was described as “chaotic” as firefighters did their best to battle the suspicious blaze at 1pm on Sunday.
Fire group manager, Tam McGrath, 43, was appalled by the abuse, adding he had never seen anything like it in his 23 years of service.
Tam said: “I’d never seen anything like this.
“Not only am I disgusted that these people put my firefighters at risk, they also threatened the public in the locality too.
“A number of people interfered with a fire engine and they could easily have taken the handbrake off and allowed it to roll down the hill.
“There was a lot of very challenging behaviour.
“The youths wouldn’t be told what to do and they made things very difficult.
“Because we discovered asbestos in the roof, putting out the fire was extra complicated and this was made even worse by the kids running riot.
“I don’t for the life of me understand why anyone would want to challenge firefighters or policemen doing their job.”
Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue Service said the attacks led to the water supply being briefly affected.
A spokeswoman for the service said: “It was rather chaotic.
“We had a number of problems with youths who interfered with firefighting operations.
“To impede emergency workers in the course of their duties is an offence and the actions of these youngsters were totally unacceptable.”
It is the second time in two months that firefighters have been attacked in the same area.
Hoses were slashed in July as crews tried to put out a fire at Craigroyston Community High School on Pennywell Road in the capital.
A police spokeswoman said: “A police investigation is ongoing.
“A 15-year-old male was arrested and charged with attempting to steal a fire engine.
“Police forces were not attacked during the incident.”