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FIREFIGHTERS SAY THEY WERE HELD BACK FROM ATTENDING MANCHESTER ARENA BOMB SCENE
 

Star date: 24th May 2017

A Salford Star Exclusive

'NEVER BEEN SO ASHAMED TO BE A FIREFIGHTER...'

"This is kids dying and us doing nothing"... "Never been so ashamed to be a firefighter"... "The public must think what the hell do we actually do apart from free smoke alarms if we don't even respond to this"... "Sat one mile from the incident watching it on telly..."

As the public, police and paramedics rushed to help victims, firefighters say they were held back by senior managers from attending the scene of the Manchester Arena bomb on Monday night.

An official investigation is underway which it is hoped will provide answers "whether it was operational decision or an error was made", the Fire Brigades Union told the Salford Star. Greater Manchester Mayor, Andy Burnham added: "I am aware of concerns from firefighters about the speed of the response to the terror attack…I am taking these concerns seriously."

Full details here...


"My heart hurts knowing we have very capable people who could have helped and weren't given the chance..."


On Monday night, the whole world watched the horrific drama unfold as an explosion was confirmed at the Ariana Grande concert at Manchester Arena. Viewers saw streams of ambulances rush to the scene and armed police arrive. But fire engines seemed strangely absent...

According to statements by furious firefighters, they were held back by senior managers for up to an hour and a half after the explosion...

In a letter to the Chief Fire Officer, seen by the Salford Star, one firefighter wrote about one of his colleagues who was on duty on Monday night...

"His wife is a paramedic and was one of the first on scene at the MEN Arena. NWAS [North West Ambulance Service] staff were told by their bosses that they could not guarantee that the scene was safe, however there were people dying inside and they need volunteers to go in and help.

"My colleague's wife said every single paramedic and technician volunteered to help. They were in the hot zone before the police arrived. However, they were extremely short on manpower and could not cope. Eventually members of the public and the police were helping, carrying out injured people on makeshift stretchers.

"Meanwhile, my colleague, a very experienced crew manager, was held back from helping, not deployed at all. Along with the rest of your staff he was sat doing nothing at Manchester Central fire station. He questioned a senior manager about this at the time and was told 'I have no answers'...

"I've never seen my colleague so animated, angry and frustrated this morning on returning to his fire station. He's not alone, it's a feeling that is spreading very quickly among your operational staff.

"Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service had a chance to help people and make a difference last night but 'We had no answers'.

"The philosophy of risk says that we will take some risks to save saveable lives. NWAS and my colleague's wife took that risk and saved lives, firefighters were not even given that option...Have we lost our way? Firefighters are angry, frustrated and ashamed of our senior managers..."

Other firefighters underlined the sentiments...

"What are we employed for if not to help people?" one asked "I'm full of disillusion in the upper management like never before and really disappointed that they have let us down so badly...It's terrifying for us as much as the next person but that's what we're fucking employed for, to take the risk that others can't or won't. We have the training and resources to respond correctly and that's exactly what we should have done...

"We have been desperately let down by these people today and the guilt I feel is overwhelming...my heart hurts knowing we have very capable people who could have helped and weren't given the chance..."

Another added "They have failed to respond adequately to a major incident and very little will be done..."

The condemnation of senior managers goes go on and on... "All that resource, all that experience and more importantly all that willingness to want to help, in probably one of the most needed shouts in our careers and this was the response from the top! Embarrassed to say I represent these clowns..."

"Police from Wales were in attendance before we were..."

 "They were under immense pressure and needed our help and we did nothing for first 90-120mins. The crews and myself are angry and rightly so..."

"There were kids dying...I too have a daughter that would have gone to that concert and the thought of her lying there whilst emergency services sit there not doing anything just saddens and upsets me..."

"It was disgusting. We should be helping not standing around with our fingers up our arses..."

"The public must think what the hell do we actually do apart from free smoke alarms if we don't even respond to this..."

"Never been so ashamed to be a firefighter..."

"This incident is exactly what we train for with the armed police and NWAS. If they aren't gonna use us on that we will never be used..."

"Has the brigade been downgraded from being first responders, to might go if someone has the balls to make a decision?"

Another added "I pray they [senior managers] are hauled over the coals for this by the Mayor..."


The Salford Star contacted Greater Manchester Mayor, Andy Burnham, who said...

"I am aware of concerns from firefighters about the speed of the response to the terror attack at the Manchester Arena on Monday night. I am taking these concerns seriously and, at the appropriate time, they will be subject to a full evaluation and briefing.
 
"But they have to be seen in context" he explained "Large numbers of highly-trained professionals were on site within minutes providing support to people. I could not be more proud of all of Greater Manchester's emergency services who, over the last 48 hours, have gone to incredible lengths to carry the city through this dark time.
 
"My first concern will always be for the families affected and I would ask everybody not to jump to conclusions in this moment when we're still coming to terms with what has happened" he added "What we can say is that this was an extremely serious, fast moving situation and the full nature of it did not become clear for a number of hours. In coming weeks we will have to understand what decisions were made and why."

The Salford Star also asked Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service for a comment and is still awaiting a response.

The Salford Star contacted the Fire Brigades Union which confirmed that an official investigation is underway...

"We are aware of our members concerns and we are in contact with the Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service employers to try and resolve those concerns" said Les Skarratts, from the North West FBU

"We have some of our members genuinely concerned about the amount of time it took firefighters to arrive at the incident and whether it was an operational decision or an error was made" he explained "At this present moment an investigation is commencing...and at this point we are putting our trust in the investigation. Let's see if we can get answers to the questions our members are asking..."



Manchester will hold a minute's silence in St Ann's Square for the victims of the Manchester Arena terror attack on Thursday 25th May at 11am, as part of nationwide minute's silence.

Vulcan wrote
at 20:50:30 on 28 May 2017
This disaster comes from the central brain-control; everybody of course should follow what his own eyes show him is necessary--why the H...l ask somebody else who is not even present--STOP this taking order - idiocy, like the nazis always used as an excuse for any thing.
 
Egil A. Frøysadal wrote
at 16:01:27 on 28 May 2017
What makes you think that this one wasn't planned "from the inside", like all or most of the others?
 
Salford lad wrote
at 07:19:50 on 27 May 2017
Bristol fireman and Ray of Sunshine. The truth always hurts. The reality is that the fire service throughout the UK is an expensive resource which is largely redundant. Most fire personnel spend the day playing volleyball or cleaning the appliance, rarely these days do they fight fires. I omitted to mention the car wash facilities they provide for charity which again is done in work time draining publi finances. The fact remains that they were not needed at the Manchester incident and should not trY and drift into other public services sphere of work to justify their existence.
 
Rayofsunshine wrote
at 15:00:06 on 26 May 2017
Salford Lad - what sewer did you escape from?
 
Bristol Fireman wrote
at 08:32:51 on 26 May 2017
Salford Lad, if ignorance is bliss, you must go around with a permanent smile on your face. Also, can you point me in the direction of the smoke alarm that actually fights the fire? I'd like to purchase one for my own home. Stop feeling bitter that you failed the fire service entry exams and go and have a 'codfeee'.
 
Rebecca wrote
at 06:54:37 on 26 May 2017
I totally agree the higher power are to blame . But as a human being. I would have gone any way and made my own personal and professional judgment dealing with consequences later. After saving lives. If this happens again. In any situation. You should make the judgment call as an individual. My total respect to all emergency personel.
 
Salford lad wrote
at 06:54:26 on 26 May 2017
Clearly the decision to hold the Fire Service teams in reserve was correct as they as it transpires were not needed. I know that they (fire service) used to sleep all night so they could do their moonlight jobs and those days have gone, also cause of smoke detectors they no longer have fires to fight but it really takes the biscuit when the fire union spot their dummy out because they are not allowed to attend the scene. Time to smell the codfeee fire service!
 
ian wrote
at 06:54:14 on 26 May 2017
maybe the reason you weren't called is that they were expecting other bombs and you were the second line of help
 
Gary wrote
at 14:08:19 on 25 May 2017
Guys,you save lives and guarantee safety 365 days a year, do not doubt yourselves for a second. Pen pushers are a blot on all our lives. Be proud of who you are and what you give to us all.
 
Second Opinion wrote
at 14:08:11 on 25 May 2017
Exactly as i Stockholm. Where There's Smoke There's BS, 13 min 1 sec. Published April 10, 2017. Why did the Stockholm Terror Truck catch fire? Why did it take so long for this to happen? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TMxIU54bTSo
 
Derek Green wrote
at 13:04:06 on 25 May 2017
I cannot believe a Major incident happened and the Fire Service were not on pre determined attendance. It seems like management are scared to make a decision, has Health and Safety become so entrenched in their thinking they are unable to think for themselves. This is bread and butter stuff for Firefighters so let them do what they go to work to do, and if you are management and you stopped appliances attending, resign. Lions led by donkeys springs to mind.
 
Lynda Christian wrote
at 07:03:42 on 25 May 2017
You cannot be held responsible for the actions of those who are there to manage the Fire Service. Their mistake was not yours and despite the immense frustration you behaved impeccably. This is yet another example of the misery and mismanagement inflicted on the population by Tory government.
 
Mandi wrote
at 19:52:44 on 24 May 2017
I am sure every firefighter must feel hurt, cheated & angry but, I for one believe you went in and did your best for each and everyone of those at the arena on Monday night. Along with every other service, I thankyou for all you did. Don't hang your head in shame or be bitter with anger. You are all up there with the best. THANKYOU
 
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