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London Fire Commissioner, Dany Cotton said:
“On behalf of London Fire Brigade I want to express our deepest sorrow at not being able to save all those who died in the Grenfell Tower fire. The suffering of the bereaved, survivors and community will never be forgotten by any of us in the Brigade.
“The Inquiry’s report details from the start that fire spread to the top of the building within 20 minutes. It was an unprecedented residential building fire, precipitated by significant failings of the building’s fire safety measures which created impossible conditions that residents and the emergency services must never be placed in again.
“We will now carefully and fully consider all of Sir Martin Moore-Bick’s Phase 1 report and take every action we can to improve public safety. Many of the recommendations are welcome and will need to be fully understood not only by London Fire Brigade, but by government, every fire and rescue service and every residential building owner and manager across the country.
“The report is focused on our response and it is right for our actions to be fully examined by the Inquiry. We welcome the Chairman’s recognition of the courage, commitment and bravery of firefighters on the night, 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. On the evacuation of Grenfell Tower we note the Chairman states* he has received no expert evidence to guide him on reaching his conclusion and that a qualitative judgement on the Brigade’s approach might be better reserved for Phase 2.
“We are also disappointed that measures we have been calling for are not in the recommendations, including the wider use of sprinklers in both new and existing buildings.
“We have made, and will continue to review and make changes to our policies, our training and our equipment. We are lobbying for major building regulation change and urgent research into ‘buildings that fail’ on fire safety, which leaves the national ‘stay put’ strategy no longer viable. We will never give up until all of the changes we are calling for to protect residents have been made.
“We have and will continue to fully assist the Grenfell Tower Inquiry to understand what happened in order to learn and prevent such a tragedy ever happening again.”
* Chapter 28, The Incident Ground, paragraph 28.5.