Leaked report condemns firefighters' response to Grenfell Tower fire

Leaked report condemns firefighters' response to Grenfell Tower fire
Copyright AP
Copyright AP
By Victoria Smith
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A leaked report into the Grenfell fire criticises the London Fire Brigade for its response to the blaze. It says fewer people would have died if the Brigade had not suffered "serious shortcomings."


London’s Grenfell Tower fire was the worst residential blaze in the UK since the Second World War, claiming 72 lives.

Now a damning report into the disaster has been leaked to the British media – the day before its publication.

The report is the result of an official inquiry led by retired appeal court judge, Sir Martin Moore-Bick.

It criticises the London Fire Brigade for its response to the blaze on June 14, 2017.

The 1000-page report - due to be released on Wednesday - reportedly concludes that fewer people would have lost their lives if the Brigade had not suffered "serious shortcomings" and "systemic" failures, such as its “stay put” policy, which told residents inside the tower to wait in their apartments until firefighters could rescue them.

It also accuses Dany Cotton, London Fire Brigade’s commissioner, of "remarkable insensitivity" after she gave testimony insisting she would have done nothing differently.

The report concludes that more lives would have been saved if the order to evacuate had been given earlier.

During an inquiry into the disaster, led by retired appeal court judge, Sir Martin Moore-Bick, many of the survivors and their families provided evidence to the inquiry.

Some are now expected to call for the Fire Brigade to be prosecuted for corporate manslaughter.

Relatives are also angry that Cotton is being allowed to retire on a full pension estimated to be worth as much as £2 million (2.3m euros).

Not just criticism

Despite the criticism of the Brigade, the report makes clear that the firefighters themselves fought hard to put out the fire and to save lives.

It praises their “extraordinary courage and selfless devotion to duty."

In defence of her team, Cotton told the inquiry that nothing could have prepared firefighters for the speed with which the blaze had taken hold.

She said her firefighters “were put in an untenable situation in a building that behaved in a way it should never have done."

Cladding to blame for spread

The report made 46 recommendations in total.

It blamed the combustible cladding on the outside of the tower for the spread of the fire, and concluded the blaze started because of an “electrical fault in a large fridge-freezer” in a fourth floor flat.

That finding is likely to bolster a multi-million pound lawsuit being brought in the US against the corporation Whirlpool, manufacturers of the Hotpoint model that caught fire.

Watch our report on the player.

Journalist • Victoria Smith

Video editor • Victoria Smith

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