UK

Grenfell Tower fire: 'Urgent review' of firefighting resources requested

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Media captionSadiq Khan was speaking at the London Pride parade

London's mayor Sadiq Khan has asked the London Fire Brigade for an urgent review into its resources following the Grenfell Tower fire last month.

It comes after BBC Newsnight queried why a 30m (100ft) high ladder - or aerial - took more than 30 minutes to reach the blaze.

Mr Khan said he was "not willing to wait" for a public inquiry into the fire, which killed at least 80 people.

The brigade said it had changed its procedures since the fire on 14 June.

Speaking at the Pride in London parade, Mr Khan said: "The key thing is to not detract from the great work of our fire service and the emergency services.

"There's going to be a public inquiry and a police investigation. I'm not willing to wait for that though, so I've asked Dany Cotton - the commissioner of the London Fire Service - to carry out an urgent review.

"The review will tell me what she needs, what the fire service needs, and my promise to her is to make sure the London Fire service get exactly what they need.

"I've asked them to look into what more equipment they need and I've given them the promise... once they let me know what they need, we'll let them have what they need."

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Image caption It was not standard procedure to send aerial platforms to tower block fires, as firefighters typically tackle blazes from inside the building

More than 200 firefighters and 40 fire engines were involved in battling the blaze that engulfed the block in North Kensington, west London.

Mr Khan said: "The fire at Grenfell Tower was unprecedented.

"All of us saw the speed of the fire spreading. Concerns were raised about the cladding, the way it was installed; whether the fire doors were the right fire doors."

He pledged to give the fire brigade more equipment "to keep Londoners safe".

The Grenfell Tower blaze was started when a fridge caught fire on the fourth floor. Fire crews were dispatched to the blaze at 00:55 BST.

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Media captionWhy did it take so long to get an aerial platform to the tower block? BBC Newsnight investigates

But the Newsnight investigation revealed that a 30m (100ft) aerial platform, which could have enabled firefighters to reach the 10th floor of tower, was not dispatched until 01:19 BST, 24 minutes after the first crews were sent out.

The aerial did not arrive until 01:32 BST, by which time the fire had raced up the building's cladding.

London Fire Brigade's standard procedure at the time was to send four fire engines - and no aerial platforms - to tower block fires as part of their "pre-determined attendance" procedure.

"It is important to understand that fires in high rise buildings are nearly always dealt with internally, not usually needing an aerial appliance," a brigade spokesman told Newsnight.

The spokesman confirmed that procedures had subsequently been changed "in direct response" to the tragedy, and five fire engines and an aerial platform would be sent to future tower block fires, as part of an "interim" change.

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