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Fire bosses deny racism cover-up November 26, 2006

Posted by C.A.R.D in Card, Citizens Against Racism and Discrimination, Racism, racism and discrimination, Racist, Whites.
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Fire brigade bosses have poured cold water on claims that they covered up racist abuse of white firefighters who tackled an arson attack on the home of an Asian family.

According to an anonymous letter sent to the Sunday Sun, Tyne and Wear Fire Service tried to hush up complaints from firefighters who said they suffered taunts at the hands of the Bangladeshi community as they battled to save the house in Northcote Avenue, Hendon, Sunderland.

The family of seven escaped the blaze on November 11 thanks to the heroism of one of the sons, Monir Azad, 20, who rescued his mother, father and younger brother before returning to the house to save his other two brothers and sister.

Tragically, Monir’s grandfather Syed Sorafot Ali, 76, collapsed and died in the street after running to the burning house from his nearby home to help. It is believed he suffered a heart attack.

The letter, purporting to come from a serving firefighter, explains that all incidents of verbal or physical abuse, however minor, must be logged . . . but claims there is no such record for this incident, despite the experience being reported to management.

It says: “When firefighters arrived at the incident they were met with a fierce fire and, as they were preparing to enter the burning building, putting their own lives at risk, they were met with several comments of ‘white b******s’ from the local community.

“These comments have been reported to management but have been brushed under the carpet so as to keep things quiet.”

Tyne and Wear Fire Service denied the criticism and said the report had not yet been completed.

Kevin Hepple, Fire Commander for Tyne and Wear Fire Service’s South Division, said: “If anyone feels this has been swept under the carpet they are wrong. Racism is intolerable, regardless of who it happens to.

“But this must be put into context. At the time of the fire people were angry, scared and fearful as they could see that their community had been targeted . . . they were reacting to what had happened.

“After the incident we spoke to a Bangladeshi advocate who liaises with the community. As a consequence, relationships between the brigade and the Bangladeshi community have been strengthened.”

A Fire Brigade Union spokesman said: “We have led the field in raising equality issues and we condemn racism in any shape or form. As this letter is anonymous we don’t know if this person is even a firefighter, so its difficult to quantify if what they are saying is true.

“If people do have genuine concerns they should bring them to the attention of the FBU.”

C.a.r.d {Citizens Against Racism and Discrimination} Source: Icnetwork.co.uk

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