Grenfell Tower: The Blame game

I usually post about such topics on my other blog.
But I felt this issue needed a wider audience.

On the night of the 14th of June, 2017, the West London tower block called Grenfell Tower caught fire.
One of the most serious fires in British history, it claimed the lives of 72 residents, and a further 70 or more were injured.
223 other residents either escaped, or were rescued.

The long-running inquiry into this incident has started to publish its findings. And of course to allocate ‘blame’.

So who is being blamed?
Perhaps the builders who used cladding that was known to not be fireproof?
Some of the numerous contractors who cut costs by using sub-standard materials?
The council officials who saved money by not providing adequate fire escapes for residents?
The designers who suggested building a cheap sub-standard building with no regard for those who would live in it?
Successive governments and London Mayors who cut the budget of the Fire Service, reduced staff numbers, and closed fire stations?

None of these.

No, they are blaming the Firefighters. The men and women who walked into that fire pictured above, with no thought for their own safety.
The emergency workers who led survivors down smoke-filled stairways as burning debris fell around them.
The staff who had to go back inside that building when it was over, and perform the grisly task of recovering charred bodies.

Yes, they are being blamed.

Their organisation is also being blamed for ‘shortcomings’ in the procedures that existed at the time.
The control room call-takers are being blamed for telling residents to stay in their flats and await rescue.
Despite the fact that they were following protocol that was designed to stop people dying in a crush on crowded stairways.
They are blaming the Chief Officer for not managing the incident correctly, and asking her to resign.

Can you imagine if the Firefighters in New York had been blamed for the deaths in the Twin Towers? I can’t.

I have only one word for the cynical people who have published this report, and for the media vultures who are spreading their lies.


57 thoughts on “Grenfell Tower: The Blame game

  1. Shameful indeed Pete…what has happened to us? It’s a universal problem today: blame others, deny responsibility, point fingers and sound obscenities to make your point…as if volume means truth…and of course, lie and lie some more…so shocking

    Liked by 1 person

        1. Thanks for that link, Ian. But despite any subsequent reports, those NY fire crews are still lauded for their bravery, to this day. I hope the same can be said for the West London crews.
          Cheers, Pete.


    1. The outcry is actually quite muted, Kim. I am sorry to say that I believe that many of the survivors are thinking mostly about compensation money. If the Fire Service is blamed, then the government has to pay.
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I too feel how wrong this sounds and the word “scapegoat” comes to mind. I thought they were following internationally used procedures. I believe there had been suggestions that the cladding could be inflammable, but you don’t change standard procedures just on suggestions. It seems outrageous.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. It’s a disgrace. All the cost-cutting so that the rich get richer is, as ever, hurting the average Joe on the street. They all want to cover their own backs and the politicians are as shady as the rest of them. It’s shocking and shameful.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. As with all these accidents there is no 100% blame to be assigned. It is always easy to dissect with hindsight , from a warm and cosy discussion and to churn out the old phrase it must never happen again. We are flawed humans living in a flawed world.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s true indeed, FM. But it won’t improve anything laying blame on the people who try their best to help, often in very difficult and dangerous conditions.
      Best wishes, Pete.


      1. I know from experience that people with the best of intentions make serious mistakes it’s part of our flawed nature , I not suggesting for a moment that the fire fighters are to blame. The other thing we often do is compromise when we know it’s wrong , often behind the compromise is money. Sometimes we are over confident remember the Titanic.

        Liked by 2 people

  5. I agree, Pete. If that building had been clad and designed correctly this would never have happened. Whoever put that illegal cladding on there is 100% to blame for this. The government also need to wake up and get in the real word and put more money into the emergency services and hire more emergency staff, not keep on cutting these vital services and expecting the few brave staff left to take on more work and risk.

    While I have nothing but respect and love for the brave firefighters who went in there risking their lives and were trying to save lives and help that night, I do think there is blame to be assigned to those from the brigade who were in command outside the building. Once that place went up and it was clear to everyone outside that it was out of control, then they should have stopped telling people to stay in their apartments and got as many as they could down the stairs. The stay put order unfortunately did contribute to lives being lost in this incident.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. They may have some responsibility for bad management, Maddy, I agree. But writing as someone who attended many major incidents as an EMT in London, I assure you that advance planning doesn’t always work at the time, given the chaos that exists during such events.
      Best wishes, Pete.


  6. Au contraire, the firefighters in the ground were praised in the report for their courageous efforts on the night.

    The LFB management were condemned for their well publicised failings in the years leading up to the fire.

    This is an interim report. The next phase of the inquiry will look at building regulations, building inspections and the role of the local authorities.

    While I deplore the amount of time this has taken so far, it seems to me to be fair in its conclusions so far.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I haven’t read the report in full, Ian. Life’s too short. But I saw people being interviewed on the BBC News who were blaming firefighters for failing to rescue them. Mud sticks, mate.
      Cheers, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Pete, yesterday I watched a video of firefighters driving into raging fire in California. It was frightening and they at least were inside a moving vehicle. I cannot imagine walking into a burning building — what a selfless act. To have the blame pinned on them is absolutely a cowardly outcome. As Frank indicated, you can almost always follow the money to find the cause of situations like these.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Pete, absolutely spot on. As a emergency service worker myself I am used to the blame game. We always here “lessons will be learned”, “working with our partners” and all the usual bull that people spew out. Instead of heaping praise where it is most definitely due, these enquiries are just blame games and nothing actually gets learnt. Makes my blood boil. Ian

    Liked by 1 person

    1. >We always here “lessons will be learned”, “working with our partners” and all the usual bull that people spew out.

      Too true. I’ve just seen the local news where some junior minister (Assistant Bag Carrier to the Deputy Assistant Minister for Paperclip Straightening) spouted all that. He said it knowing full well that *this* government has about five weeks life left in it, during which time it is forbidden from implementing any decisions which would bind the next government.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Successive governments and Mayors of both parties happily ran down the resources of the Fire Brigade to save money. Then that happened, so they blame the staff.
        Thanks, to both Ians.
        Best wishes, Pete.


  9. Totally agree, Pete. I watched the news last night with my jaw on the floor. Surely this is not the final report and the end of the matter? They know the cladding acted as fuel. They know corners were cut. It’s disgusting and shameful – as is so much in this country nowadays.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. I agree with you entirely, Pete: I think this verdict is disgusting, using the firefighters as a scapegoat, instead of implicating all the cost-cutting & political machinations that led to this tragic event.

    Liked by 3 people

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