Fire service condemns mindless firework incident at Dundee University halls

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SFRS Group Manager Craig Thomson said lighting fireworks inside buildings puts lives at risk

Fireworks Generic

A senior Dundee fire officer has said that lighting fireworks inside buildings is "mindless," and puts lives at risk.

Scottish Fire and Rescue Service Group Manager Craig Thomson was reacting to an incident at Dundee University’s Belmont Tower Student Residence high rise in the Mount Pleasance area last night where a firework was lit inside the building and thrown from a window.

The call was received at 9.34pm last night (2 October 2016) and four appliances and an aerial rescue platform were sent to the scene. Thankfully when crews arrived it was established there was no fire and no one had been injured.

However, Group Manager Thomson, highlighted that this irresponsible and reckless act had the potential to threaten the safety of everyone inside the premises.

He said: “This mindless act really does defy belief. Extreme care should be taken when using fireworks outside, but they should never be used inside any building or premises due to the risk of fire and serious injury.

“The person responsible is very lucky that there was no fire or injury to either themselves or the other students within the halls.”

He added: “Attending incidents like this also delays our attendance at more serious incidents where lives could be at stake and the person responsible should take that in and think about it very seriously.

“We have an excellent relationship with Dundee University and we regularly work with them and the students to highlight the importance of fire prevention and safety while staying at halls of residence.”

A spokesman for Dundee University said: “It appears a firework was set off from an open window in Belmont Tower last night. Thankfully no one was injured in the incident, which we are continuing to investigate, and no damage was caused.

“Students are made aware of our fire safety regulations and their personal responsibilities in this regard even before they take up a place at our residences. Fire safety is of the utmost importance in our halls of residence and we work closely with Scottish Fire and Rescue Service on campaigns to reiterate this message.

“We have clear disciplinary procedures in place for anyone found flouting these regulations and all our students are aware of this.”

Meanwhile, The Scottish Fire and Rescue service is urging people to attend organised bonfire events this Saturday, 5 November.

Private firework displays and bonfires pose a serious risk to people's safety and the call out times of SFRS.

Speaking in the build up to Bonfire Night Assistant Chief Officer David McGown, said: “The Scottish Fire and Rescue service can be up to four times busier than usual on bonfire night.

“There are many official bonfire events this year in Scotland and attending one of these can help ensure our resources aren’t delayed.

“Illegal bonfires needlessly take up our crews time and put others with genuine emergencies at risk.

“I would urge any member of the public who sees someone starting an illegal bonfire to contact Crimestoppers.

“Together we can help each other stay safe this bonfire night”.

Crimestoppers can be called anonymously on 0800 555 111 or contacted through their website at

Here are some top safety tips for this bonfire night:

  • Store sparklers and other fireworks in a closed box in a cool, dry place
  • Always light sparklers one at a time and wear gloves
  • Plunge finished sparklers hot end down into a bucket of water as soon as they have burnt out. Remember, sparklers can stay hot for a long time
  • Don't take sparklers to public displays. It will be too crowded to use them safely
  • Never give sparklers to under-fives
  • Never hold a baby or child if you have a sparkler in your hand
  • Always supervise young children closely
  • Avoid dressing children in loose or flowing clothes that could catch alight easily, and give children gloves to wear when holding sparklers

If unfortunately there is an accident here are some more tips:

  • Cool the burn or scald with cold water for at least 10 minutes
  • Cut around material sticking to the skin - don't pull it off
  • Don't touch the burn or burst any blisters
  • Cover the burn with clean, non-fluffy material - clingfilm is ideal - to prevent infection
  • If your clothing catches fire, stop, drop down and roll on the ground until the flames go out
  • If someone else’s clothing catches light, use a blanket, rug or thick coat to put out the flames
  • Get advice from your doctor or accident and emergency department at your local hospital