The Fire Brigades Union wishes to clarify a number of points regarding the Grenfell Tower fire following a report today (25 May) in the Daily Telegraph.
The FBU is participating in the public inquiry as a core participant. We are engaging in good faith in the inquiry process and hope that it will get to the bottom of what happened and why. There are many questions to be answered, including very difficult and important questions from the bereaved, survivors and residents as well as from firefighters and others. We have not, and will not pre-judge, the evidence.
In relation to the issue of ‘stay put’, which was one of the subjects of the article in the Daily Telegraph, there are clearly many questions to be considered. We have currently not seen, heard or considered the evidence from the night so cannot make judgement on actions taken or decisions made. Evidence from firefighters, residents and others including the expert witnesses will need to be considered very carefully before those questions can be answered.
We are entirely confident that all those taking emergency calls and all firefighters and fire officers attending the incident did their utmost on the night and at the incident to save as many lives as they could. Regrettably, they operated in an impossible situation because the fire was on such an unprecedented scale. Many firefighters clearly put their own safety at risk in order to save the lives of others.
We do not agree that firefighters on the ground had concluded within 10 minutes that nobody should stay in their flats to await rescue. We simply do not know the evidence at this stage. There is no evidence that we are aware of so far that any such policy was scrapped within 10 minutes. We are aware that residents were actually rescued from their flats until very late into the incident.
Note: Fire Brigades Union opening statement to Grenfell Tower Inquiry
The FBU has set out our initial thoughts on the issues to be considered in our opening statement to the inquiry. This has been submitted to the inquiry team and will be heard by the inquiry and by the public in due course and in accordance with the procedures and timetable set by the inquiry team.