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Greater Manchester Fire Service Failings

The terror attack that shocked the world at the Manchester Arena last year has had a damning report released. Fire crews from Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue were delayed for 2 hours by bosses, when other services and even citizens rushed into the building to help victims of the blast which could have been far worse, which I’ll go into shortly.

Fire Crews have spoken of how they wanted to go into the building but couldn’t due to management forbidding them.

Well, I say there are some situations where protocol and orders shouldn’t be followed, and this was one of them. As rescue workers, they are PAID to do dangerous things, and should have been among the first to be on the scene. Instead bosses shamefully held them back for 2 hours because ‘there could have been a gun man on the loose’. That is not a good enough excuse.

The notion that Fire and Rescue couldn’t attend a very real situation is shambolic and shameful, and the heavy lifters, those on the front line, wanted to get in there, but the pen pushers were too concerned with their risk assessment. IT WAS A BOMB! There is bound to be risk no matter which way you look at it. It’s just exceptionally fortunate that the bomber clearly didn’t know too much about the architecture of the building.

The Manchester Arena is built over Victoria Railway Station, at the time accessed by going up a flight of stairs and over a foot bridge over platforms 3, 4, 5 and 6. The Arena then has an oval food court where Mc Donald’s is above the line for platforms 4, 5 and 6 and a gangway leading to all entrances which is then the lobby.

Had the bomber known this, he could have caused far more destruction, as if the bridge were to collapse, it would destroy platforms 4, 5 and 6, and also severely damage platforms 1 and 2. As all the trains that go through Victoria are diesel, and it’s seldom not got a train waiting in at least 2 of the platforms, this could have caused a truly catastrophic explosion.

Had the worst happened, such as the scenario above, would the fire crews have been forced to wait an agonizing 2 hours? This is the most devastating attack that Manchester has seen, and greatly overshadows the IRA bombing in the 90’s.

Seriously, there are more important things in life that management approval, and the crews that wanted to go in should have given the pen pushers a royal 2 finger salute and just done it.

There is a need for safety first, but when situations like this happen, the rule book should go out of the window. Well and truly. More people could have been saved that night, had the fire brigade been allowed to go into the arena and do their job unhindered and without fear of repercussion from senior management.

 

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