French Volunteer Emergency Workers Attacked with Acid

Civil protection rescuers gather as they stay alert in case barriers to stop the flood bre

Volunteers of a French civil defence group were attacked twice last weekend, with one of the attacks seeing the volunteers sprayed with acid.

The volunteers, who were working for the Fédération Nationale de Protection Civile (FNPC), were attacked with an acid substance in the commune of Ygos-Saint-Saturnin in south-western France, a report from France Bleu has claimed.

The motive for the attack is currently unknown, as is the identity of the person or persons who threw the substance at the volunteers, and they have not been arrested by police so far.

None of the volunteers was struck by the substance but one member of the group was injured as a result of inhaling the acid fumes.

While the substance was not taken to a lab, members of the group and the local gendarmes determined that it was likely a form of hydrochloric acid based on the odour.

Gilles Sarran, the president of the FNPC in the department of Landes, commented on the attack saying, “when we volunteer for civil protection it’s because we want to give our time and ourselves to help others, and to be attacked is not at all what we are searching for.”

Sarran called on the prefecture of Landes to act following the incident, saying that if there is another attack he will withdraw volunteers helping during local festivals.

“I have to protect my teams, and to protect my rescuers, there is no question that I will accept that they are attacked,” he said.

Acid attacks on emergency services personnel, volunteer or professional, are not unknown, and another incident occurred last year in Essone when police officers were attacked by several masked youths after preventing a robbery at a local grocer.

General violence toward emergency services personnel has also become a major issue across France. In May of last year, firefighters in the Alpes-Maritimes department went as far as creating videos requesting members of the public stop attacking them.

In Toulon, members of the Mobile Emergency and Resuscitation Service (SMUR) have been equipped with bulletproof vests to protect their staff from attacks.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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