James O'Brien's Emotional Response To The Grenfell Fire Report

29 October 2019, 11:10

James O'Brien says the report into the tragedy at Grenfell Tower does not show a failure of the fire brigade, but a failure of its management.

An official report by Martin Moore-Bick found fewer people may have died in the Grenfell Tower fire if key decisions had been made earlier.

The first phase of the public inquiry into the disaster has heavily criticised the London Fire Brigade, identifying "systemic failures".

However, James says the headlines do not match the report. Speaking on his LBC show, he said: "When they talk of systemic failures of the London Fire Brigade or being condemned for failures at Grenfell, what we're looking at here is management issues and chains of command.

"And decisions made in the heat of the moment that with the benefit of proper consideration would not have been taken.

"Within hours of this tragedy unfolding, we took calls almost immediately from firefighters who had been in that building and they told us tales of breaking rules with regard to their own health and safety legislation.

"We heard very quickly of people who obeyed an instruction to stay put and the suspicion as the full details of the tragedy began to emerge, that some of them would have survived if they had ignored those instructions.

James O'Brien responded to the leak of the Grenfell report
James O'Brien responded to the leak of the Grenfell report. Picture: PA / LBC

"We have spoken to people who chose to ignore those instructions.

"I don't know how you negotiate the epic bravery of firefighters - bravery above and beyond - with the fact that the official inquiry has essentially concluded that not only residents were let down by the fire brigade management, but the firefighters have been as well."

Watch the powerful piece at the top of the page.