UK

Grenfell: Fire Brigade boss warned ministers about ‘significant’ fire risk months before disaster killed 71 people


An inquiry has found that the London Fire Brigade commissioner warned ministers about the fire risk in high rise blocks months before the Grenfell Tower disaster.

The commissioner of the London Fire Brigade (LFB) wrote to the housing minister at the time, Gavin Barwell, warning him that residents were at “significant risk of fire spread.”

Dany Cotton, Commissioner of the London Fire Brigade from 2017-2019, told Gavin Barwell that the LFB was finding problems at the rate of one building a month, reports The Guardian .

READ MORE: Questions asked of where Grenfell £50 million relief cash is actually going

She also warned there could be more in the future, the public inquiry heard earlier today (November 25).

In April 2017, Cotton warned that there was “mounting evidence of issues of concern within residential buildings and, in particular, blocks of flats”.

She said residents were being placed at “significant risk of fire spread”.



Ex London Fire Brigade commissioner Dany Cotton

Despite Cotton warning ministers about this specific threat, she has been criticised along with the LFB at large for the handling of the disaster.

In particular, the family members of the 71 Grenfell victims were angered when she said the fire was as foreseeable as “a space shuttle landing on the Shard”.

Asked again about whether she still believed this, the ex LFB commissioner said: “My view is that we had a lot of organisational knowledge.

“But I still think that even now the knowledge held by the London and UK fire service would not have anticipated such a catastrophic failure of a building with so many breaches.”



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Despite this, she did add that there “was information that we could have shared that could have been translated into training for members of LFB that may well have assisted them.”

The inquiry continues.

If you’ve got a story you think we should be covering, email sylvie.wilkinson@reachplc.com

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