A high-speed joyride on a stolen fire engine in Northern Ireland ended on Saturday with smashed cars and houses, and a 19-year-old teen and a 66-year-old man being arrested. While it is unclear why the two stole the vehicle from a fire station near Belfast, there is no uncertainty as to the trail of destruction they left behind.
The joyride on the fire engine began on Saturday morning around 4:30 a.m. when the two alleged thieves broke into the Larne fire station and took off with the vehicle causing substantial damage to the unmanned fire station, reports ITV International News on March 6. With blaring sirens and flashing lights, the teen and retired man drove off – plowing into houses and flipping over parked cars.
According to Group Commander Kevin O’Neill from the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service (NIFRS), the fire engine “carjacking” ended when the vehicle came to a crashing stop in the garden in front of two homes. “They did not get very far, O’Neill said.
Residents woken up by the noise thought at first that an explosion had occurred:
“We thought it was possibly an explosion, we rushed downstairs and immediately saw the carnage of a line of cars, think it was probably eight cars, one sitting on its roof, my own car was side swiped as well. We are completely in shock, the neighbours on both sides of the road, we are just wondering how in the name of goodness can something like this happen.”
Fortunately, no one was injured or killed when the vehicle was going amok on the streets of Larne. However, one of the thieves was injured and had to be taken to the hospital. The fire engine and the fire station sustained serious damages. While it is unclear whether the two men were intoxicated, the two are scheduled to appear at Coleraine Magistrates’ Court on Monday.
Apparently, the 19-year-old was driving the fire engine during the joyride:
“Detectives have charged a 66-year-old man with burglary, aggravated vehicle taking causing damage to another vehicle, aggravated vehicle taking causing damage to property and various other offences. Detectives have also charged a 19-year-old man with dangerous driving, burglary, attempted burglary with intent to steal, aggravated vehicle causing damage to another vehicle and aggravated vehicle taking causing damage to property and various other offences.”
Gordon Lyons, the Democratic Unionist Party’s MLA (Member of the Legislative Assembly) for the area commented that the theft was an “extremely stupid and dangerous thing to do.” “Stealing a fire engine! Madness like this can put lives at risk,” wrote Stephen Martin (Assistant Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland) on Twitter in regard to the fire engine joyride.