London – The London Fire Brigade (LFB) said it was disappointed by Wednesday’s highly critical report on its response to the devastating fire which killed 72 people at London’s Grenfell Tower block of flats in 2017.
An initial inquiry report highlighted significant systemic failings by the LFB, including poor evacuation, command and communication procedures.
We welcome the chairman’s recognition of the courage, commitment and bravery of firefighters on the night, London Fire Commissioner Dany Cotton said in a statement.
But we are disappointed at some of the criticism of individual staff members who were placed in completely unprecedented circumstances and faced the most unimaginable conditions while trying to save the lives of others,” Cotton said.
Martin Moore-Bick, head of the inquiry, said his report was critical of many aspects of the LFB’s response.
Fire incident commanders were not trained to recognise a fire in the external wall of a high-rise building, nor were they trained in how to respond to it.
There was no contingency plan for evacuation of the tower and the LFB failed to revoke the stay put advice at a time when the stairs remained passable, Moore-Bick said.
Had it done so, more lives could have been saved, he added.
The fire began with an electrical fault in a freezer and spread via external cladding in the early hours of June 14, 2017 while many residents were asleep.
Moore-Bick said the second phase of his inquiry will scrutinise the building, including the cladding, and the role of local and central governments.