London Fire Brigade

Fire Authority Chairman statement to London Assembly

07 September 2011

Chairman of the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (LFEPA), Cllr Brian Coleman, has today made a statement to the London Assembly at the annual LFEPA Question Time:

Members of the Assembly will be well aware of the civil disturbances across London this summer. Between 8.45pm on Saturday 6 August and 9am on Wednesday 10 August, Fire Brigade Control dealt with over 5,200 calls – this is around two and a half times the normal amount.

At the height of the disturbances, on Monday 8 August, 98 fire engines and 490 firefighters were committed to incidents across the capital.  Firefighters fought blazes at homes, businesses, and public buildings as well as numerous bus and car fires.  Although support was available from neighbouring fire brigades, London did not have to call on them.

By far the largest fire that occurred was at the Sony Warehouse in Enfield. Over the first two days of that fire 56 fire appliances and over 200 firefighters attended. It was not completely extinguished until Monday 22 August, a full fortnight later, and used a significant amount of Brigade resource. 

I am glad to be able to report that no firefighter was seriously injured on duty during the disturbances although nine fire engines had their windscreens smashed and three senior officers’ cars were attacked. All members will be horrified that firefighters needed the protection of the police to be able to carry out their work to protect lives and property.

I would like to pay tribute to the work of the Commissioner and also particularly to the Deputy Commissioner, Ms Rita Dexter, and to Assistant Commissioners Knighton and Turek who worked tirelessly at this difficult time.

This tribute extends to all uniformed and non-uniformed staff who went that extra mile. I am delighted that the outstanding service of staff has received recognition from so many quarters, with The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall, the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government having visited London fire stations to give their thanks in person.