FBU members will have followed closely the developments this week relating to the fatal fire at Atherstone-on-Stour in 2007. It would not be appropriate to comment on the details at this stage but it is important to outline the various roles which the Fire Brigades Union has undertaken since the tragedy. This work involves legal representation, a health and safety investigation and other advice and support.
All four of the deceased were members of the FBU and the Union has therefore provided ' and continues to provide - legal assistance to the families of Brothers Reid, Averis, Stephens and Yates-Badley. Regrettably, the FBU has considerable experience in the preparation and provision of such advice and representation and those involved in this case have drawn on advice and support of officials from Head Office or from other Regions/Brigades which have dealt with fatal accidents in recent years.
In addition, large numbers of FBU members have been interviewed as part of the police HSE investigation. This has now resulted in charges being made in a number of cases. This is unprecedented in the history of the UK Fire and Rescue Service. Legal advice and representation has been provided or offered through separate solicitors to all members involved.
I am sure that all members will appreciate the difficulties which are faced in this terrible and tragic situation. I can assure you that every effort has been made to ensure that all those involved have been provided with the best possible support and representation from the FBU and our solicitors and legal advisors.
In addition to legal advice and representation, the Union has been undertaking a thorough investigation of the health and safety issues involved in the fatalities. This will be published once completed and when it is appropriate to do so.
The difficult circumstances since 2007 have meant that a large number of FBU officials at local, regional and national level have been involved in different aspects of the Union's work in this case. I am sure that you appreciate that there are a whole range of issues which would not be appropriate for discussion at this stage.
I will provide further information when it is possible and appropriate to do so.