Tuesday, May 22, 2007


Much has been said about the fire by people who know a lot more than me, but I do have one concern which was prompted by reading the following:

Ian Allchin, a press officer with London Fire Brigade, told Times Online that the firefighters' efforts were hampered. "Initially, we were in defensive mode, with crews standing well back from the flames," he said. "We were able to confirm within about 45 minutes that there were no hazards on board, and began to fight the fire aggressively."

Before anyone jumps down my throat, I do not claim to know anything about fire fighting and I am not saying the response of the Fire Brigade was wrong. What concerns me, and this is a question not an accusation, is that did the fire fighters treat the fire exactly the same way as any other fire or was sufficient consideration given to the fact that what was on fire was irreplaceable? If a mangy old warehouse is burning down then what does it matter if you wait 45 mins to check for hazards, but when the blaze is consuming an irreplaceable part of our heritage maybe there is a case to be made for going in and dealing with it straight away?



At 4:51 pm, Blogger Hugh said...

I agree with you completely. I think it might have been to do with the Fire Brigade thinking there were acetylene cylinders on board and were concerned there might be an explosion. I don't think this should have stopped them chucking water onto the flames from a distance though!

I don't hold my breath in regard of the Government putting some money towards the restoration - they are too busy throwing it into the trough for their mates in the big construction companies - the whole 2012 Olympic saga. I think that will be the Millennium Dome fiasco writ even larger.

At 8:07 pm, Anonymous Nigel said...

It was fear of gas cylinders that held them back at first, according to BBC News. They can go explode like bombs and so an exclusion zone has to be maintained - one which makes "chucking" water onto the flames rather difficult.
I'm betting you'll find that the priority observed is 'life before property' - even extremely rare or valuable property. Would you want it any other way?

At 12:44 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can anyone explain why a very basic sprinkler system was not installed within the canopy - surely the person responsible for the risk assessment (not to mention the various insurers) would have demanded that this relatively inexpensive safeguard was in place?


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