Fireworks ambush in Huntly
Firefighters were ambushed by a mob of teenagers who lured them to a Huntly street and pelted them with fireworks.
Huntly west residents described chaotic scenes as hordes of ‘‘ratbags’’ armed themselves with fireworks and paintball guns and went at each other in a tit-for-tat war through the streets on Sunday night.
They then turned on firefighters and police who responded to emergency calls. The crowd lined both sides of the street and fired explosives at the fire and police vehicles.
The incident unfolded about 10pm when Huntly firefighters were called to a fire at the end of Paki Street.
As one of the fire trucks turned off Harris Street into Paki, firefighters encountered a haze of smoke.
‘‘You could see plenty of people on either side of the road,’’ said Huntly station officer Brian Hedley, who was inside the fire truck. ‘‘Then, when we got near, we just got pelted.
‘‘They were aiming them at us. There were multiple shots from both sides of the truck at once.’’
Firefighters retreated until police arrived, he said.
Around the same time, police received several calls from Harris Street residents, reporting people fighting and fireworks being set off, Waikato police Western Area Commander Inspector Andrew Mortimore said.
He said it appeared the calls to the Fire Service were not legit- imate calls for service. There was no fire found in Paki Street.
‘‘This sort of behaviour will not be tolerated and we will be taking serious action. This is putting the community as a whole at risk.’’
The first police officers on the scene were fired upon multiple times with fireworks and paintball guns.
One patrol car was struck nine times.
Many of the emergency services, especially firefighters and ambulance personnel, were volunteers, he said.
‘‘This is no way to treat these individuals.’’
Police would be looking to hold people to account for the attack.
Huntly Fire Chief Craig Bush said the incident was disappointing.
‘‘They call us out when their bathroom or their kitchen catches fire, then they bloody treat us like that when we’re coming to help.
‘‘We’re there to help people.’’
New Wetern Waikato area commander Inspector Andrew Mortimore.
Fire chief Craig Bush.