Rioters 'demented' says Boris Johnson

London mayor Boris Johnson described the actions of rioters who prevented firefighters from reaching burning buildings earlier this week as "demented" today.





Speaking as he visited Stoke Newington fire station in north-east London, he praised the "heroism" of crews who battled to extinguish blazes started by mobs across the capital.



London Fire Brigade received 2,220 calls - about 15 times the usual amount - on Monday night, and attended 1,500 incidents.









Mr Johnson said the challenge to firefighters during the riots had been "unprecedented".

He added: "London Fire Brigade was able to cope comfortably within its strength with the biggest fire challenge this city has faced for many, many, many years.



"I congratulate them on their management, on their organisation, on the dynamism of the men and women who serve, the firefighters.



"I think the firefighters have done the most incredible job and there are many heroes in the story of what has happened in the last few days, but London Fire Brigade is out here, at or near the top."



Some of the 49 staff at the station, who were among the first at the scene of the fires in Tottenham where the riots started on Saturday night, told the mayor how they came under attack themselves.



Mr Johnson said: "What strikes me as so barmy is just the idea that you could actually be at physical risk from people who are there on the scene.



"It's crazy, I mean what kind of mentality is that in people who attack firefighters. They are literally out of their skulls.



"They deserve very serious penalties in my view."



He was told that luckily only a few minor injuries were sustained by firefighters.



But he exclaimed "you are joking" in disbelief when he was told that a firefighter on her way to work at Clapham fire station was attacked and threatened with a gun.



As he chatted to firefighters, Mr Johnson was invited to sit in one of the station's fire engines but said he "had better not". However it appeared the temptation was too great for him as he then quickly clambered up on to one of the front seats.



He was told London Fire Brigade had used 120 appliances to attend all the riot-related call-outs, with the more serious fires using 10 or 11 at a time. Between 8pm on Monday and 1am on Tuesday they attended 10 large fires simultaneously.



Forty-nine fire appliances were also kept in reserve in case of other incidents and no other fire services had to be drafted in.



Mr Johnson said they were running a "tight ship".



"That is amazingly efficient. It's very impressive," he added.



Speaking more generally about the disorder, the mayor said: "We've got to make sure that we support our firefighters, we support our police, and that we use this whole business to look at the real issues that lay behind it.



"There are people on the left, people on the right, who will both find causes of the riots that will satisfy them ideologically. There's a rich banquet of causation here.



"Let's get it all out there. Let's look at what went wrong. Let's use this experience to make London an even better place."



London Fire Commissioner Ron Dobson, who was also present at the station, said: "London Fire Brigade is here to protect Londoners. "London Fire Brigade will always do the best it possibly can."

PA

News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice