Croydon fire station manager arrested after car ploughs into striking firefighters
A fire brigade manager has been arrested after a car ploughed into a picketing firefighter outside Croydon fire station.
Stunned firefighters rushed to help Red Watch colleague Tamer Ozdemir, who screamed out in pain after being struck by the car.
Station manager Chris Young who is believed to have been in the car at the time was arrested by police.
Mr Ozdemir, believed to be in his 40s, was taken by ambulance to St George’s Hospital in Tooting as a priority suffering from a serious injury to his pelvis.
Enraged firefighters, who had been protesting since 10am against changes to shift patterns, began hurling abuse at strikebreakers leaving the scene, banging on the side of the fire engines shouting “scabs” and “traitors”.
Mick Shaw, president of the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) was with the protesters when the incident happened at about 3.20pm.
He said: “A fire engine returned from an incident and drove into the fire station, its crew refusing to wind down their windows and talk to the pickets.
“It was followed by a car driven by the officers, and as the pickets tried to talk to the driver of the car, it accelerated suddenly and one of the striking firefighters was thrown up and into the windscreen.”
Police cordoned off Mitcham Road outside the fire station as the London Air Ambulance hovered overhead, blocking traffic along Old Town.
Firefighter Mick Andrews was one of the first to reach Mr Ozdemir, helping give him first aid before running to nearby strikebreakers to get a blanket for the casualty.
He said: “I’ve never seen anything like it.
“I asked for a blanket because someone had been run over and was completely blanked.
“I went around to the officer in charge of the appliance and asked him for a blanket and he told me to get it off another appliance.”
The strike was called off after police arrested Mr Young, telling firefighters the station had become a crime scene.
Strikebreaking crews from private company Assetco had been responding to emergencies since crews began their picket at 10am, and were being supported by senior brigade staff driving cars.
A spokesman from the London Fire Brigade said: “During demonstrations at Croydon fire station one person believed to be demonstrating has been injured after being hit by a car.
“London Ambulance was called at 3.20pm and a man has been taken to hospital with pelvic injuries.
“Due to a large number of protestors at the station and that incident, we have suspended the use of that station.”
A spokeswoman for London Ambulance Service said: “We were called at 3.18pm to reports of a road traffic collision involving a car and a pedestrian.
“We sent an ambulance crew, a single responder and the air ambulance.
“Our staff treated on patient, a man reported to be in his 40s, for pelvic injuries.
“He was taken as a priority to St George’s Hospital in a ground ambulance.
“Another patient was treated at the scene for minor injuries but not taken to hospital.”