Grenfell families' fury at fire chief's £2m retirement payout as report blasts 'gravely inadequate' response to blaze

FAMILIES of Grenfell Tower fire victims lashed out at an estimated £2million pension payout to outgoing fire chief Dany Cotton after a damning report into the blaze.

London Fire Brigade Commissioner Ms Cotton is retiring in April aged 50 on a full £140,000-a-year pension.


A two-year inquiry's findings today slammed her and London Fire Brigade (LFB) officials for their "gravely inadequate" planning over the June 2017 inferno which killed 72 people – as survivors blasted her payout.

Rukayet Mamudu, 71, who fled the flames in her dressing gown, demanded Miss Cotton loses her pension.

She said: "She should not get any pay-off. She should not be paid off for doing a deadly job. I am very angry.

"Dany Cotton should be made to pay the consequences of the fire brigade being so unprepared and for their inflexibility and failure to respond to events on the ground."

'LIKE WINNING THE LOTTERY'

Nabil Choucair, who lost six relatives in the deadliest London fire since the Blitz, branded the pension "like winning the lottery".

He said: 'She doesn't deserve it. Her not doing her job, or what she should have done, resulted in a lot of people dying.

"And she deserves an early retirement payout? I don't think so. I don't think she's setting a good example.

"She's just showing how if something goes wrong, this is how you get out of it – by retiring early. Whoever is responsible needs to be held accountable – not rewarded."

Sir Martin Moore-Bick’s 1,000-page report will fuel demands for the fire brigade to be prosecuted for corporate manslaughter.

The inquiry report accuses LFB officials of “serious shortcomings” and “systemic” failures, and blasts Commissioner Ms Cotton as “unsympathetic” and showing “remarkable insensitivity”.

The most damning findings

  • Fire chiefs caused more deaths by maintaining the “stay put” policy when residents could have evacuated.
  • London Fire Brigade planning “gravely inadequate” with “institutional failure”.
  • Experienced incident commanders and senior officers had “no training” to cope with combustible cladding or evacuating a high-rise block.
  • Firefighters’ database on tower “years out of date”.
  • Commanders failed to spot the compartmentation had failed meaning “stay put” policy should be lifted.
  • Commissioner Cotton blasted for “remarkable insensitivity” in her evidence and “lack of curiosity”.
  • Shortcomings in call centre meant lack of accurate information to be shared.
  • Senior officers had no training on combustible cladding or how to evacuate a high-rise building.
  • There was no Plan B after the “stay put” policy failed.
  • Fire crews failed to spot that compartmentalisation had failed and the fire was out of control.
  • The cladding was flammable and acted “as a source of fuel”.
  • The refurbished and combustible cladding was “primarily responsible” for the spread of the fire.
  • The tower’s external walls failed to comply with building regulations.
  • BUT the report also said crews showed “extraordinary bravery and selfless devotion” by repeatedly running into the burning building.

But it praises the “extraordinary bravery and selfless devotion to duty” of the heroic regular firefighters.

Some residents could have escaped down the stairs after 2.20am, the report revealed.

There was no Plan B and no training for evacuation.

But fire chiefs hit back at the official report after it said that more lives could have been saved if Grenfell Tower had been evacuated sooner.

Matt Wrack, general secretary of the Fire Brigades Union, said there was "no way of knowing if evacuation could have saved more lives" and that it could have led to further fatalities.

He added: "Before any firefighter arrived that night, Grenfell Tower was a death trap."

Ms Cotton said recommendations were welcome and that they would be "carefully and fully" considered by the Brigade.

Speaking to Sky News today, Ms Cotton said: "What I said in the inquiry about not wanting to change anything was based on the actions of my firefighters on the night.

"Clearly, knowing what we know now about the building and about ACM cladding we would do things differently.

"If I caused any additional hurt or upset to the people of Grenfell that was not my intention. I regret [my comments] caused offence."

She said the fire was "unprecedented" and the building's safety failings created "impossible conditions that residents and the emergency services must never be placed in again".


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