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Grenfell survivors: Report is right to be critical of fire brigade

Survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire have welcomed the first report into the disaster, saying it is "strong and fair" and right to be critical of the London Fire Brigade.

The damning report praised the bravery of individual firefighters but hit out at the LFB for its response to the blaze, particularly over its "stay put" strategy.

The strategy meant residents were told to stay in their flats by firefighters and 999 operators for nearly two hours after the blaze started just before 1am.

The LFB breached national guidelines by failing to adequately prepare for the west London fire in June 2017 which killed 72 people, the report concluded.

Inquiry chairman Sir Martin Moore-Bick said the LFB's preparations for an incident such as Grenfell were "gravely inadequate", and the absence of a plan to evacuate the tower was a "major omission".

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The report concluded fewer people would have died if residents had been evacuated while it was still possible, and if "serious shortcomings" had not plagued the fire service's response.

Image: Natasha Elcock, chair of Grenfell United, said the report was "strong and fair"

Natasha Elcock, chair of Grenfell United, a group of survivors and bereaved families, told Sky News she was "happy" with the findings of phase one.

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She said it was correct that the leadership of the LFB came in for criticism, as she claimed the institution "believes they can't do nothing wrong".

Ms Elcock said: "The report has been quite damning of the leadership of the LFB and quite rightly so" and she questioned whether the head of the brigade, Dany Cotton, should still be in her job.

She said: "There were issues on the night with the fire brigade, definitely not those on the ground – I was rescued by them so I am eternally grateful that those firefighters risked their life. But it's definitely around the leadership. The higher up the chain.

"It's around the training and it's around this institution that believes that they can't do nothing wrong and it's about time that changes."

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The report accuses the brigade's commissioner, Ms Cotton, of "remarkable insensitivity" after she said she would not have done anything differently on the night.

Ms Cotton told the inquiry that preparing for Grenfell would have been akin to preparing for landing a spaceship on the Shard.

But chairman Sir Martin Moore-Bick said her evidence "only serves to demonstrate that the LFB is an institution at risk of not learning the lessons of the Grenfell Tower fire".

London Fire Brigade Commissioner Dany Cotton giving evidence at the Grenfell Tower inquiry in Holborn
Image: London Fire Brigade commissioner Dany Cotton has been criticised over her inquiry comments

And Ms Elcock said "it was disgusting" to hear first-hand those comments in the inquiry room by Ms Cotton "when so many people lost their lives".

"You can't say there is nothing you wouldn&#03Read More – Source