Two firefighters, James Shears and Alan Bannon, died last week in a fire at a block of flats in Southampton.
Around 250 people gathered outside Shirley Towers last Sunday to pay their respects.
FBU union general secretary Matt Wrack said, “The thoughts of firefighters across Britain are with the families of those who died.”
The press reported that the fire started accidentally after a couple left a curtain draped over a lamp.
But serious questions remain unanswered.
lHow did the fire spread so rapidly? Witness Kristina Baldacchino said, “We saw the fire engines arrive at what appeared to be a small fire.
“Yet within an hour it was ripping through the entire block.”
Why hadn’t standard fire safety precautions slowed its spread?
But how did this happen to the experienced firefighters? Were they trapped?
Ashley Le Marechal, a resident, says he was told an internal staircase had collapsed through a floor. Is this true?
The doors swung open “in the style of a cat flap”, according to the Health and Safety Executive. Lift operator Otis was fined £400,000 plus £145,000 costs.
It had failed to carry out scheduled maintenance on the rusting lifts. Were other parts of the block in similar disrepair?
But the council is refusing to release either report. What do these reports reveal?
Yet between February 1996 and October 2002 none died. What changed?
In 2003, the deal that ended the firefighters’ national strike unleashed a wave of “reforms” and cuts.
An FBU report in 2008 found “evidence linking the new regime and new ways of working with increased risks to firefighters”.
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