A fire engine stolen from Larne Fire Station in the early hours of this morning (Saturday March 5) may have travelled as far as Ballyboley, says a local MLA.
Police investigating the theft, which occurred shortly before 4.30am, have arrested two men aged 66 and 19.
Larne Fire Station reportedly sustained “substantial damage” as a result of the incident, and the fire engine crashed into a number of cars and gardens of properties in the Glenarm Road area of Larne.
East Antrim UUP MLA Roy Begg expressed his relief that no serious injuries resulted from the crash, and said that the vehicle’s tracker had revealed its itinerary.
“It could have been much worse, as I understand that the tracker in the Fire Engine showed that it had been as far as Ballyboley, before the crash happened back in the town,” he stated.
“Thankfully no one was seriously injured, although one local resident had to get medical treatment after suffering an asthma attack.
“The scene in Larne on the Glenarm Road this morning was appalling, with extensive damage to parked cars and residential property.
“To see a fire engine crashed into a front garden is almost unbelievable.”
Mr Beggs said that the structural damage sustained by Larne Fire Station during the incident also called into question whether the local emergency response facility would be safe for future use.
“The Fire Station itself is now structurally damaged and there are wider concerns for public safety with the loss of a fire engine and doubts about whether the station is safe for use,” he continued.
“There is no doubt that lives were put at risk and clearly there must be a review as to how the engine was able to be stolen in the middle of the night.
“The theft of life-saving equipment left everyone in Larne more vulnerable had there been a fire or another major incident this morning.
“Whilst questions must be answered as to how such a vehicle could have been stolen in the first place, we must be grateful that there have been no fatalities.
“I am glad that arrests have been made, and hope that the culprits will feel the full force of the law in due course,” he concluded.