Report: Firefighters Blocked for Two Hours after Manchester Arena Bombing

Published March 28th, 2018 - 05:00 GMT
Members of the Fire Brigade walk near Manchester Arena (AFP/File Photo)
Members of the Fire Brigade walk near Manchester Arena (AFP/File Photo)

Although paramedics arrived within 11 minutes of a bombing after an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, Great Britain, last year, firefighters were held back for nearly two hours, according to a new report.

An independent report found that the Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service did not arrive at the scene and played "no meaningful role in the response" to the suicide bomber attack that killed 22 people in May of last year.

According to the report, the lack of fire crews at the scene meant that a "valuable resource" was not available to help victims after the attack.

The 226-page report said that a senior fire rescue officer "stuck to rules", keeping emergency responders 1,600 feet away from any suspected zone of danger. That decision made the fire service and control center feel that they "had let down the people of Greater Manchester" on the night of the blast, the report said.

"The fire service was effectively outside the loop and had little awareness of what was happening at the arena," the report found, adding that "strategic oversights" by police commanders led to confusion over whether an "active shooter" was on the loose the night of the suicide bombing.

"There is a lot to be proud of in the response to the attack, both for the city region of Greater Manchester, and for the emergency services," Lord Bob Kerslake, the former Head of the Civil Service, said. "The benefits of collaborative working and planning for emergencies were demonstrated to the full. And there were hundreds, if not thousands, of individual acts of bravery and selflessness."



"But it's also vital to learn the lessons around things that did not go so well. It matters not just for the people of Greater Manchester and beyond who were caught up in the terrible events of that night, but also for places that might be caught up in such an attack in the future."

The report additionally found that families had poor experiences with reporters following the attack, including descriptions of being "hounded" and reporting a "lack of respect" from the press.

Despite more than 50 recommendations to better emergency response in the event of future attacks, the report wasn't able to determine if an earlier arrival by the fire services would have made a difference in the medical outcome of those injured.

"This is a question that only the coronial inquests can decide," the report said.


This article has been adapted from its original source.


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