Grenfell groups welcome report on ‘gravely inadequate’ fire brigade preparation
Survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire have welcomed a damning report that said London Fire Brigade (LFB) breached national guidelines through "gravely inadequate" preparation.
Sir Martin Moore-Bick said the absence of a plan to evacuate the tower was a "major omission" by the LFB and more lives could have been saved had the "stay-put" policy been abandoned sooner.
There was also an absence of training to help incident commanders recognise when this might be necessary, the inquiry judge said.
Bereaved family members said it was "heartbreaking" that more of their loved ones could have been saved, but some organisations questioned inquiry chairman Mr Moore-Bick's assertion that evacuation would have been possible.
Some of his 46 recommendations require "urgent action" from the Government and others with responsibility for the "oversight and direction" of the emergency services, he said in a letter to the Prime Minister.
One of the groups representing bereaved and survivors, Grenfell United, welcomed the "strong" findings which "give us some confidence that our journey towards truth has finally begun".
LFB Commissioner Dany Cotton said many recommendations were welcome and would be "carefully and fully" considered by senior officers.
She said: "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 judgment on the brigade's approach might be better reserved for Phase 2."
Matt Wrack, general secretary of the Fire Brigades Union, said there was "no way of knowing if evacuation could have saved more lives".
He said: "We strongly refute the report's assertion that it would have been possible or safe to evacuate more than 150 people via a narrow, smoke-logged stairwell with just 30 firefighters.
"There is no evidence to suggest that this was possible."