Two revellers jumped on to a fire truck, while
''out-of-control larrikins'' threw bottles at the appliance
during a large party in the student quarter.
Willowbank firefighters arrived to extinguish a couch fire in
front of an estimated crowd of 200 at the northern end of
Castle St at 11.25pm on Thursday.
East Otago assistant area commander Craig Geddes said when
the firefighters were leaving the scene, the appliance was
''There was a pack mentality ... They were converging on our
staff in the fire engine and compromising their safety and
''It was just a bunch of out-of-control larrikins.''
Two men climbed on to the truck and began jumping up and
''They then leapt off and were restrained by Campus Watch and
supported by our guys until police arrived,'' Mr Geddes said.
The firefighters - all ''big burly blokes'' - were left
''rattled'' by the experience.
''They are genuinely compassionate people who do a hell of a
''This is not what they signed up for.''
Firefighters would be told to contact police earlier if they
felt their safety could be compromised in future callouts.
Mr Geddes said those involved in the disorder should be
''having a long hard look in the mirror about their behaviour
and conduct as it was totally inappropriate''.
''At the end of the day it is illegal behaviour and we can't
condone it ... ''It was also of particular concern to the
Fire Service that a resource such as the specialist
Willowbank fire appliance was tied up attending such callouts
and ''at some point in time someone will suffer as a
''Fire, police and ambulance are there to help the community.
''We are not there as a target for hoodlums.
''They should be treated through the courts and processed
Mr Geddes said although burning couches appeared to be on the
wane it remained an entrenched part of culture in the student
quarter and was largely the result of ''alcohol-fuelled
A University of Otago spokeswoman declined to comment on the
incident, as it had not determined whether students were