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London firefighter took selfies at Grenfell Tower and used them on his Tinder dating profile
2 February 2023, 09:28
A firefighter took a selfie at Grenfell Tower just after the deadly blaze and used it on his Tinder dating app profile.
A London Assembly hearing into the culture at the London Fire Brigade – which was found to be institutionally "misogynist and racist" in a report – was told new evidence of appalling behaviour was still coming to light.
Solicitor Nazir Afzal, who wrote the report, said he'd continued to be told about incidents like the Tinder user.
"In the immediate aftermath of Grenfell while the fire had just been raging, a male firefighter had a selfie taken of himself outside the building which he then used as his Tinder profile," he told members.
"He was quickly told to get rid of it, he was subsequently given, I understand, words of warning. The question you have to ask yourself is, how do you feel entitled to do that?
"Why did he feel entitled to do that when 72 lives had been lost in the building, including 18 children, and he felt what was more important was how he would look to other women on his social media site."
During the assembly hearing, members were told two complaints against firefighters in the capital could lead to criminal investigations being started. The brigade has launched its own investigation over whether they should be sacked.
More complaints that result in criminal investigations would not be surprising, the brigade's director of people Tim Powell said.
Commissioner Andy Roe said sorry to the family of Jaden Francois-Esprit, a firefighter who took his own life in 2020. His mother was in the public gallery.
His death triggered Mr Afzal's review into the brigade's culture.
He said: "I can only apologise to you and your family. The London Fire Brigade let you and your son down in almost every aspect."
He added: "Seeing you here, I can only apologise to you now for the public record and hope that this report and the action we will take subsequent stand as some sort of recompense for the terrible loss you have endured."
The brigade has been put into enhanced monitoring by His Majesty's Chief Inspector of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services.
It says it is taking steps immediately to stop discrimination, harassment and bullying.
It comes after police launched an investigating into claims Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue firefighters photographed women who died in car accidents.
The men are said to have swapped the harrowing images on a WhatsApp group as well as making degrading comments about female victims after being called to the scene to retrieve their bodies from wreckage.
Several female firefighters have also complained of persistent sexual harassment within their stations, with one male firefighter said to have demanded sexual favours at the scene of a fire.
One whistleblower said: "I've seen people make comments about the type of underwear the women are wearing in the car crash."
The female Dorset and Wiltshire firefighter told ITV News: "Retrieving the body of someone dead should tear you apart, not make you want to take photos of it, just to joke about it later.
"Because that’s someone's loved one, isn’t it? That’s someone's relative."