An official report into Grenfell disaster blamed London Fire Brigade and said “ if the LFB had not suffered serious shortcomings and systemic failures in its response, fewer people wold have died”.
The 1000-page damning report accuses Danyh Cotton the LfB’s commissioner of remarkable insensitivity after she gave testimony insisting she would have done nothing differently.
Sir Martin Moore-Bick, a retired appeal court judge who chaired the public inquiry, makes 46 recommendations following a two-year investigations into how the fire in the west London tower block unfolded on June 14, 2017.
Seventy-Two people died at Grenfell, including 18 children the youngest victim a stillborn baby.
Sir Martin says “The principal reason “why flames shot up the 24-storey building at much speed was the combustible aluminium cladding used in its refurbishment. The report concludes that the fire started as the result of an “electrical fault in a large fridge-freezer” in a fourth-floor flat. The finding is likely to bolster a multi-million pound lawsuit being brought in the US against the Whirlpool corporation, manufacturer of the Hotpoint model that caught fire.
In a bitter blow to the reputation of LFB, Sir Martin reserves his most damning criticism for the service, including the now notorious “stay put” strategy.
In the report, which will be made public tomorrow Sir Martin says Residents were told to remain in their flats by firefighters and 999 operators for nearly two hours after the blaze broke out at 12.54am although by then the fire was out of control. The “Stay put” strategy designed for tower block fires where the blaze is contained was only rescinded at 2.47am.
Sir Martin says “That decision could and should have been made between 1:30am and 1:50am and would be likely to have resulted in fewer fatalities. The best part of an hours was lost before Assistant Commissioner Roe revoked the “stay Put” advice. I identify a number of serious shortcomings in the response of LFB, both in operation of the control room and on the incident ground. But individual firefighters like Michael Downden a relatively junior commandeer was left in charge for far too long as the tragedy unfolded ”.