Socialist Worker

Don’t let blame for Grenfell Tower disaster be deflected onto firefighters

Issue No. 2642

Firefighters have joined many protests to demand justice over the Grenfell Tower fire

Firefighters have joined many protests to demand justice over the Grenfell Tower fire (Pic: Guy Smallman)


A Channel 4 Dispatches documentary entitled Grenfell: Did the Fire Brigade Fail? aired on Monday.

At least 72 people died in the Grenfell Tower fire in June 2017.

The documentary claimed that firefighters and call operators told 55 of them to stay in their flats.

This was because high rise buildings were made up of self-contained, fire-resistant compartments when policy was first drafted.

The documentary argued that a “systemic failure” in fire brigade policy meant the building was not evacuated when it should have been.

It blamed fire brigade leaders for not learning the lessons of previous fires.

As Fire Brigades Union general secretary Matt Wrack said, “Before any firefighter arrived, the building was a potential death trap.

“The building was wrapped in flammable cladding which caused the fire to spread at an unprecedented and rapid rate.”

The documentary described how firefighters “were trapped in a system that let everyone down”.

It is important that individual firefighters are not blamed for the deaths at Grenfell.

Such moves deflect blame from those really responsible.

The documentary didn’t point the finger at the firm Arconic that produced the cladding.

Nor did it point to the people in government who undermined safety procedures to cut costs.


Click here to subscribe to our daily morning email newsletter 'Breakfast in red'


Mobile users! Don't forget to add Socialist Worker to your home screen.