Firefighters assaulted for helping
WHEN Yamba firefighters heard the blood-curdling scream of a woman outside the fire station on Monday night they didn't expect to be assaulted when they went to investigate.
The men, who were at the fire station after finishing their station drill, immediately suspected the woman was in danger from the sound of her screams.
Their suspicions were confirmed when they saw a man dragging the woman across River St near the Yamba skate park about 9.50pm.
A Yamba firefighter who did not wish to be named said when they heard a lady screaming loudly some of the men "did the right thing" and went to her aid.
They saw a man dragging a woman across the road.
The firefighter said when his colleagues went to the woman's aid the attacker called for help.
"The man attacking the woman called for back-up and another three men and a woman came to help him."
A melee ensued involving five firefighters, three who were repeatedly punched for trying to help the woman.
"One of the fellas was punched pretty badly.
"He was transferred to hospital by ambulance suffering cuts to his face."
The firefighter said the woman who was being attacked knew her attacker.
"She was being attacked but apparently she is in some sort of a defacto relationship with one of the fellas."
Two police vehicles from the Lower Clarence attended the scene and diffused the situation.
Yamba Neighbourhood Watch co-ordinator Brian Holley said it was rare for a serious assault like this to occur in Yamba.
"It is almost unknown for these sorts of incidents to occur in Yamba," he said.
"The statistics I have regularly seen show assaults are rarely a problem."
Mr Holley said despite there only being six of 14 officers on regular duty in the Lower Clarence, more police wouldn't have stopped this incident.
"Six police in an area the size of the Lower Clarence is ridiculous," he said.
That aside, Mr Holley said working with parts of the community about issues they are confronted with could help.
"We have a social problem in this town but nobody seems to be doing much about it."
Yesterday police were collecting statements from the firefighters involved in the incident.
Charges are yet to be laid over the melee.
Inquiries are continuing to locate the man who is aged in his 20s, is of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander appearance, solid build, with black hair.
Anyone who might have any information on the man's identity or whereabouts should contact Grafton Police or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.