FBU reaction to Shirley Towers’ inquest verdict – death by misadventure, with narrative verdict Matt Wrack, FBU General Secretary said: “This has been a very difficult and painful process for the families, friends and colleagues of firefighters James Shears and Alan Bannon. Their loss is still very deeply felt by all those touched by their deaths.
“These dedicated firefighters died in the line of duty and the inquest played a key role in establishing the facts of what happened. The biggest advances in firefighter safety have come from learning and applying the lessons of such tragedies.
“We owe a duty to all firefighters to learn those lessons, no matter how painful that process may be. During this inquest it has been established that previous recommendations stemming from the deaths of two firefighters and a member of the public in a tower block in Stevenage, Hertfordshire had not been properly implemented.
“This tragedy happened in Hampshire, but a similar tragedy could happen again in any number of fire services. We are deeply committed to doing all we can to prevent other families facing the loss of loved ones.
“The Fire Brigades Union and Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service have worked together to agree 10 key recommendations. We will be raising those recommendations and our concerns with the fire minister to ensure lessons learned from tragedies like this are not lost or forgotten in the future.”
Karl Horan, FBU Southern region Executive Council member said: “To prevent a similar loss of life we call upon the Fire Minister and Sir Ken Knight, Chief Fire and Rescue Advisor, to ensure that the issues identified during this inquest are circulated to all UK Fire and Rescue Services and other relevant bodies. We would also ask that consistent specific advice is issued to assist with the implementation.”