MANCHESTER, England (CelebrityAccess) Andy Burnham, mayor of Greater Manchester, England, says that the firefighters who arrived two hours late to the Manchester Arena bombing last year have nothing to apologize for.
An independent review into the arena attack, which occurred near the venue after a May 22 Ariana Grande performance, killing 22 people, criticized the fire service for playing “no meaningful role” in the aftermath. Poor communication and a rick-averse culture led to fire services to wait two hours to deploy, according to the review led by Lord Bob Kerlslake, former civil service head.
However, Burnham said in an open letter May 30 that “No frontline firefighter has to apologise for anything. You and your colleagues did nothing wrong that night.”
An open letter from Andy Burnham to Greater Manchester’s firefighters. pic.twitter.com/8GCZ1rfQEu
— Mayor Andy Burnham (@MayorofGM) March 30, 2018
He added that many were willing to help “but were prevented from doing so by decisions taken above you. The failure is not yours but one of process, leadership and culture.”
An anonymous firefighter had told the Manchester Evening News he wanted to ask forgiveness from those affected by the attack. He said he and his colleagues found it hard to come to terms with what had happened – the report determined that the firefighters had been ordered to stand down and move three miles away from the arena. The firefighter said that paramedics were left to use the Manchester Central fire station just .6 miles away from the venue.
“I would like to ask for the forgiveness of the victims, their families, and other emergency service workers for not upholding my end on the night,” the firefighter told the News. “If it ever happens again I will do what I should have done on that night – pick up the first-aid bag off the taxpayers’ fire engine and walk to the incident myself, or hitch a ride with the true heroes of the incident — the ambulance service. Many of us have been left distressed and devastated by what happened.”
The chief firefighter in charge that evening took early retirement last year, according to the Guardian. His successor said the fire and rescue service was cooperating fully with a wide-ranging review.