Manchester Arena bomb: Fire chief blames police for delay

Ex-chief fire officer says police did pass on information about the Manchester Arena attack.

Top (left to right): Lisa Lees, Alison Howe, Georgina Callander, Kelly Brewster, John Atkinson, Jane Tweddle, Marcin Klis - Middle (left to right): Angelika Klis, Courtney Boyle, Saffie Roussos, Olivia Campbell-Hardy, Martyn Hett, Michelle Kiss, Philip Tron, Elaine McIver - Bottom (left to right): Eilidh MacLeod, Wendy Fawell, Chloe Rutherford, Liam Allen-Curry, Sorrell Leczkowski, Megan Hurley, Nell Jones
Twenty-two people were killed in the blast on 22 May

The former chief of Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) has blamed police for the brigade's slow response to the Arena terror attack.

Peter O'Reilly was chief fire officer at the time of the suicide bombing which killed 22 people in Manchester.

He said the failure of police to pass on information meant his officers were unable to enter the venue to help.

Greater Manchester Police (GMP) declined to comment because an inquest into the victims' deaths is pending.

Peter O'Reilly said the failure of police to pass on information meant his officers were unable to help after the bombing which killed 22 people

Mr O'Reilly's interview with the Irish News follows a report by Lord Kerslake, which was critical of the fire service and GMP in the immediate aftermath of the blast.

He said: "For me, I will always regret that the fire service weren't there within minutes.

"Every one of these firefighters was trained to help these people in their darkest hours and that was taken away from the fire service to be able to do that.

"They weren't able to do that, simply because police didn't live up to their responsibilities of having a conversation with the fire service."

Salman Abedi detonated a home-made device at 22:31 BST as 14,000 people streamed out of an Ariana Grande concert on 22 May 2017, leaving more than 700 injured.

According to the Kerslake report, the first North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) paramedic arrived at 22:42 and was told the incident was a "suicide bomber" by police.

A police duty inspector declared Operation Plato, a plan for dealing with a suspected marauding armed terrorist.

GMFRS was unable to communicate with the duty inspector because of a lack of radio link and a busy phone line, so it could not confirm the true situation and prepared for an escalating terrorist firearms attack.

As a result fire crews stuck to national guidance, which says personnel should keep 500m (1,600ft) away from any zone of danger in such situations.

Because of the communication difficulties neither GMFRS nor NWAS was informed or updated of the status of the operation and GMFRS did not arrive at the scene for nearly two hours.

The Kerslake report found "strategic oversights" by police commanders led to confusion over whether an "active shooter" was on the scene

The fire service and the control room "felt they had let down the people of Greater Manchester" on the night of the blast, Lord Kerslake's report said.

Lord Kerslake said it was "quite extraordinary that [the fire service] did not pick up what was happening."

"They should have gone forward not back," he said.

"The firefighters wanted to go forward but they were not able to. The discipline of the fire service meant that they could not self-deploy."

Mr O'Reilly retired earlier this year. He joined GMFRS in 2011 and became chief fire officer in 2015.

He previously served in the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service for more than two decades, including tense periods during the Troubles.




Date: 20 August 2018 | Source: BBC

More UK News

Former Showaddywaddy bassist Al James dies aged 72

Al James was with the group from its inception in 1973 until he retired more than 30 years later

Cardiff boy, 7, finally walks after losing both legs aged 3

Aged three, Romeo Hadley suffered purpura fulminans, which led to both his legs being amputated

On the border beat in County Armagh

Armoured cars are still a reality for Northern Ireland's border police officers

Obituary: Richard Baker

The pioneer BBC newsreader who also fronted a host of classical music programmes

Former BBC newsreader Richard Baker dies aged 93

Once one of the BBC's best known personalities, he introduced the first news bulletin on BBC TV in 1..

Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson works out at Doncaster gym

Dwayne Johnson hit the weights at a Doncaster gym during a break from filming his latest blockbuster..
View More

More Telford News

 Children In Need: Shropshire joins in the fundraising fun

Eating rabbit food and raw eggs, baking cakes and collecting funds for a g..

 Blaze wrecks car in Telford street

Police in Telford are appealing for information after a car was wrecked in..

 Telford lighting up for Christmas

Telford's main Christmas lights switch-on was taking place today.

 Call for more Shropshire volunteers to transport patients

A father and son from Telford are calling for now volunteers to join them ..

 Police investigate car fire in Donnington

An investigation is taking place into the cause of a car fire in Telford la..

 Successful Telford 50 events to return in 2019

Three major events that attracted tens of thousands of people as part of Te..
View More

Telford Businesses

Calendar Countdown

[[countdown here]]
[[countdown here]]

Upcoming Events in Telford

28 Nov 2018

Wednesday 28 November 8pm

Doors open 7.15pm

Show running time (approx): 45 minutes - 20 minutes interval - 45 minutes


Tickets £16.50

14+ (Parental Guidance). Likely to be swearing and adult content.

View Details

01 Dec 2018

9:30am - 12pm


Adult - £8.50

Child - £11.95

Family - £39

View Details

01 Dec 2018

2:30pm - 4:30pm

Please arrive 15 minutes before the start time to allow time to be seated.


Child - £14.95

Adult's - £9.95

Family Ticket - £45

View Details
View More