Fire Brigades Union representative claims Jim Shears and Alan Bannon not given full help during Shirley Towers blaze

Families fear firefighters were 'forgotten' claims barrister

The fire at Shirley Towers

Alan Bannon

James Shears

First published in News

THE families of two firemen who died fighting a towerblock blaze fear they were “forgotten”, their barrister has claimed during the inquest into their deaths.

The barrister representing the relatives of Red Watch firefighters James Shears and Alan Bannon said the hearing into the deaths of the two men was revealing a distinct “lack of communication” on the night of the fire at Shirley Towers in April 2010.

As reported, father of one Mr Bannon, 38, and father of two Mr Shears, 35, were the second team (known as Red Two) to go into the ninth floor flat but had been overcome by a sudden escalation in temperature.

They lost contact with the people controlling how the fire was being tackled and despite repeated efforts to reach them they were eventually pulled unconscious from the fire scene around 50 minutes after their two colleagues had struggled free and had appeared disorientated, distressed and burnt. Firefighters Keith Holland and Liam Ryan managed to get out of the flat at 8.46pm.

He told Southampton Coroners Court: “(The families are concerned) how it was that Red Two seems to have been forgotten about over these critical minutes. “They may be wrong and the evidence shows Red Two were being thought about all the time, but what appears to be unravelling at this inquest was that the left hand didn't know what the right hand was doing, and there was a breakdown of communication of important facts and important and relevant information.”

Mr Seaward went on to say that it was his view that more could have been done on the night.


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