LONDON (CelebrityAccess) An inquiry into the events of the Manchester Arena bombing in England last year concluded that firefighters were not allowed to go to the scene for two hours because of confusion that the attacker was still on the loose.
Lord Bob Kerslake, senior British civil servant who headed the inquiry, found that poor communication kept chief fire officers “risk-averse,” keeping first responders away from the scene, according to the BBC.
A suicide bomber killed 22 people and injured 700 near the Manchester arena after an Ariana Grande concert May 22.
Although paramedics were on the scene within one minute of the explosion, firefighters were kept away because a police duty inspector declared “Operation Plato,” a plan involving an active shooter. However, the ambulance service was not informed and continued to treat victims, which was “fortuitous.”
The 226-page report said lives were probably saved by a duty officer’s decision to override protocol and let police and medics stay at the arena to treat the wounded.
Kerslake added that there was a “catastrophic failure” of the Vodafone 0800 phone system that was designed to provide information about the attack to concerned people, causing “significant stress and upset” to families.
“A number were reduced to a frantic search around the hospitals of Greater Manchester to find out more,” Kerslake told the BBC, and that the company “should also apologize directly to the families” because the failure of the system “made the experience of this truly terrible evening even worse.”
Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham praised emergency responders for making “brave, common-sense decisions” rather than following protocol “to the letter.”