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Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Fire chief who quit over Grenfell says lessons from disasters overseas were not learned

Ms Cotton said Graham Ellis, another fire chief at the LFB, “used to monitor, through an international forum, some of the operational incidents that were occurring”.

She continued: “He was very interested in seeing what’s happening, and sometimes they would be the subject of conversation. But I have to say, predominantly the view was ‘thank goodness that could never happen in the United Kingdom because we have different regulations’.

“So although he would share information about fires overseas, the conversation that would predominate would always be around ‘thank goodness that could not be us’.”

She denied, however, the suggestion by Richard Millett QC, counsel to the inquiry, that this represented a “missed opportunity”.

Ms Cotton became commissioner of the LFB in January 2017, months before the Grenfell Tower fire that June.

She was criticised in the inquiry’s first report in 2019 for her comments during evidence about the night of the fire, when she said she would not change anything about the brigade’s response. Sir Martin said in his report that Ms Cotton had displayed “remarkable insensitivity”.

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