Monday 18 November 2019

'Serious failings' in response to Grenfell fire - report

72 people died in the blaze. Photo: Getty
72 people died in the blaze. Photo: Getty

Joe Gammie

There were "serious shortcomings" and "systematic" failures by the London Fire Brigade (LFB) in its response to the Grenfell fire disaster, according to the official report into the tragedy.

The report, due to be published tomorrow, also accuses the brigade's commissioner Dany Cotton of "remarkable insensitivity" after she said she would not have done anything differently on the night.

Inquiry chairman Sir Martin Moore-Bick says fewer people would have died if key decisions had been made earlier.

He has made a number of recommendations following the two-year investigation into how the disaster at the west London tower block unfolded.

The report finds the main reason the flames shot up the building at such speed was combustible aluminium cladding used in the refurbishment of the tower.

The 1,000-page report also concludes the fire in June 2017, in which 72 people died, started as the result of an electrical fault in a fridge-freezer in a fourth-floor flat.

It criticises the LFB for its "stay-put" strategy when residents were told to remain in their flats for nearly two hours after the blaze broke out.

The strategy was rescinded at 2.47am. But the report finds: "That decision could and should have been made between 1.30am and 1.50am and would be likely to have resulted in fewer fatalities."

It identifies serious shortcomings in the response of the LFB, and adds: "The LFB's preparation and planning for a fire such as that at Grenfell was gravely inadequate."

It praises the bravery of individual firefighters, but describes the "stay put" strategy as an "article of faith within the LFB so powerful that to depart from it was to all intents and purposes unthinkable".

Irish Independent

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