Grenfell Tower Disaster Worsened by Unrealistic Expectations of Fire Service Evacuation

A woman passes a construction wall with written messages near Grenfell Tower in London, Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2019. A report released Wednesday on the deadly apartment block fire in London has condemned the London Fire Brigade and concluded that fewer people would have died if the building were evacuated more quickly. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

A representative of the British firefighters union told a government inquiry panel that the tragedy of the 2017 Grenfell Tower Fire in London, England was exacerbated by an over-reliance on the fire services to evacuate residents in cases of emergency, according to ITV.

“Of course, the Fire and Rescue Service will attend and do its best at any fire or other emergency, but fire safety depends on everyone doing their bit,” Martin Seaward, a lawyer for the Fire Brigade Union, told the panel investigating the high-rise fire that killed 72 people. The tower is engineered with a stay-put approach to design to allow residents to shelter in place safely during a fire.

However, the stay-put sheltering turned deadly as the building’s safety features failed and evacuation became hazardous due to smoke. Seaward noted that building owners should conduct routine fire drills and evacuation training for staff and residents. For more on the inquiry, visit ITV.

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