Firefighters’ union leader: ‘Grenfell was no accident’

16 June 2017

Speaking to today’s Justice for Grenfell protest, Matt Wrack, the leader of the firefighters’ Fire Brigades Union, put the blame for the fire on austerity cuts.

“When standards slip, horrors this will happen,” he told protesters. “So this was not an accident.”

He talked about a recent case of a firefighter and FBU member who had died, when someone said it was important to “learn the lessons from the case”.

Wrack said a retired firefighter told him that authorities should stop using the phrase ‘lessons need to be learned’. Referring to fire safety standards, he said, “We learned these bloody lessons 40 years ago.”

The union leader added, “These are not new lessons about that tower, these are very old lessons. The question therefore is why those lessons are not being applied. We have to ask very harsh questions of those in authority.”

The union is conducting its own investigation into the circumstances of the fire, independent from the official inquiries.

“We in the Fire Brigades Union want to work hand by hand, side by side with the tenants and residents of Grenfell Tower and all across London,” said Matt Wrack.

“We are not going to let this lie, we won’t leave any stone unturned, we won’t leave any question unanswered.”

And Wrack, a supporter of the Labour Party and Jeremy Corbyn, had some closing words about the importance of social housing.

“We want decent homes,” he told the crowd to cheers. “Why the hell in a wealthy society can’t people who work in the capital city live in decency and safety in the capital city?”