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Firefighters became trapped in flat
FIREFIGHTERS Alan Bannon and James Shearswould have suffered an “incredibly stressful experience” as they became trapped inside Flat 72, which was engulfed in fire, a pathologist told the inquest.
Dr Hugh White told how “things got really difficult” at 8.39pm that night when the temperature suddenly soared inside the property while the pair, known by call sign Red Two, and two firefighter colleagues from Redbridge station, known by call sign Red One, were inside.
Within five minutes, and having undergone significant pain and distress, Red One managed to get out at 8.44pm.
Meanwhile Mr Bannon and Mr Shears had become trapped under cabling that had fallen from above.
It was eight minutes later when an automatic distress signal on Mr Shears’ firefighting kit was activated – triggering a loud alarm to ring.
The inquest was told that it is not known whether Mr Shears or Mr Bannon activated that alarm.
At 8.59pm Mr Bannon’s breathing apparatus ran out of oxygen and within a minute of that happening, his distress alarm sounded after he failed to move for 30 seconds, meaning it was likely he was unconscious.
Dr White told the inquest that both men had suffered burns and blisters on their bodies, which was a sign of the extreme temperatures to which they were subjected.
He described the scene as “a perfect storm” with extreme rising temperatures, complete darkness and both men enduring a form of heat stroke as their bodies tried to cope before their hearts failed.