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Grenfell Tower firefighter admits mistakes

26 June 2018

THE FIREFIGHTER leading the initial response to the fire at Grenfell Tower has admitted that he had not been trained to make certain decisions on the day, and that certain checks were not carried out.

Michael Dowden, a firefighter of 14 years, told the inquiry that he was not trained to make a decision on when to reverse the 'stay put' policy.

When the refurbishment of Grenfell was near completion some 16 months before the fire, the watch manager at North Kensington fire station visited the 67 metre tower, but did not check the cladding, escape routes or sprinklers.

He said that he familiarised himself with the dry riser system, which should not be used in buildings more than 50 metres.

His evidence revealed that a routine document with essential details about buildings to guide firefighters during a fire was not created for Grenfell Tower. This document should contain details on the location of stairs, lifts, exits and entrances, hydrants and dry risers. It should also outline the dimensions of the building and number of flats. The information that Dowden did print off and take to the fire with his crew was last updated in 2009.