Manchester Arena Inquiry hears emergency crews' calls

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Armed Police officers at Manchester ArenaImage source, PA Media
Image caption,
An inquiry is considering the response of the emergency services to the 2017 suicide bombing

Fire chiefs on the night of the Manchester attack were still trying to discover the emergency services' meeting point after the last survivor was evacuated, an inquiry has heard.

The hearing was told the fire service was still seeking confirmation 10 minutes after the last surviving casualty was moved from the scene.

The public inquiry is to assess the emergency response to the 2017 attack.

Twenty-two people were murdered and hundreds more injured in the bombing.

At 23:50 BST, Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service station manager Andy Berry called Greater Manchester Police's force duty officer phone line and spoke to police support staff member David Myerscough, who had been asked to answer the line.

During the call, Mr Berry said: "Wondering if you had decided on a forward command point, a forward control point for co-location?"

Image source, Family handouts
Image caption,
Twenty-two people died in the attack at Manchester Arena

Mr Myerscough later told Mr Berry he had been informed the rendezvous point (RV) was at Central Park in Newton Heath.

Mr Berry replies: "Central Park? Well that might be an RV but we need a forward control point that we can co-locate at with the ambulance service."

The officer came back to him and said: "I have spoken with the inspector and he said if you go to the Old Boddington's brewery car park."

Mr Berry said: "The ambulance service apparently are at our Crompton Street fire station so we are going to muster there. OK. Thank you."

Counsel to the inquiry Nicholas de la Poer QC told the inquiry: "We remind ourselves at the outset of that call we were a few seconds only shy of one hour and 20 minutes post-explosion, and over 10 minutes after the final surviving person has left the City Room."

The inquiry will evaluate what the impact of the fire service's absence from the scene was on those affected by the blast and whether that contributed, or may have contributed, to the loss of life.

Only one paramedic entered the blast scene in the first 40 minutes and GMP did not declare a major incident until the following morning, the inquiry has also heard.

The inquiry continues.

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