13/10/09 | 18:30
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Getting exclusive access to the records of the London Fire Brigade, I discover and report that during the rescue attempts at Lakanal House the fire brigade coordinator kept Catherine Hickman on the phone for 23 minutes whilst the flat burned beneath her and raged in the corridor outside her flat. But she was also told to “stay put” rather than “get out”. It has become clear she was sent back in to the flat from the escape balcony which she could have used. It is unclear why she wasn’t just told to get out of the building. This advice on that day was lethal.
I stress that local authorities are breaking the law by not having compliant fire risk assessments. It raises questions about the appropriate advice to give high rise tenants in the event of fire and it is clear there is confusion over what advice the authorities should give and when.