Prince Harry Meets Salford Fire Crews Attacked In Riots
18 August 2011, 14:03
Prince Harry has met fire crews who came under attack from rampaging mobs in Salford and Manchester during last weeks riots.
The prince heard first hand from fire-fighters who were pelted with bricks while trying to put out blazes started by hundreds of looters and rioters who torched cars and shops.
More than 300 fires were started overall as trouble erupted across Salford and central Manchester last Tuesday.
His visit to Salford Fire Station also included a meeting with Community Action team volunteers, a number of young people from the Salford Prince's Trust team and fire cadets currently on a course at nearby Eccles Fire Station.
Paul Argyle, assistant county fire officer for Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, accompanied by firefighters Carl Jackson and Ray Sheil, gave the Prince a private briefing on the trouble while watching the CCTV.
Mr Jackson told the Prince: 'Every time you turned around there was a fire somewhere else.'
Mr Argyle said his officers were there only to protect and save lives, but Mr Sheil added: 'They didn't distinguish between police and fire.'
Six fire engines were damaged in the mayhem, with rioters in Salford using nails in planks of wood put across roads to sabotage the efforts of emergency services.
Local police described the violence in the city as 'ferocious'.
Prince Harry arrived at Salford Ambulance Station in Charles Street and met crews who responded to emergencies during the riots.
Specially-trained paramedics in the hazardous area response team (Hart) were mobilised in Manchester city centre during the riots.
Their role was to treat and safely evacuate casualties.
In total, the North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust attended 27 riot-related incidents in Great Manchester - 12 of these were in Salford.
The prince laughed and joked with crew members and chatted about the night of the riots while other staff members took pictures of him on their mobile phones.
A palace spokeswoman said the prince was moved to go to Salford and thank the crews after he saw the riots on television.
Paramedic Neil Bruckshaw, 41, from Salford, introduced his two-year-old son Harry to the prince.
He said: 'It was like when Harry met Harry.'
Mr Bruckshaw said his son rehearsed saying 'Hello sir, I'm Harry Bruckshaw' with his mother.
The paramedic said it was an honour to meet the prince and get 'recognition' for what they all did on the night of the riots.
He added: 'I was born in Salford and I've worked in this station for 19 years. In my time I have not witnessed anything like that before.'
Paramedic Duncan Mayoh, 33, from Bolton, said: 'It was great to meet Prince Harry. We just spoke about what happened that night and how it was quite scary.
'But at the end of the day we are here to do a job, trying to save lives and the crew from Salford just got on with it.'
The prince spent around 15 minutes at the station and took part in a large group photograph before leaving for his next engagement.