Grenfell fire chief: 'the building didn't do its job... the building beat us'

"I know we saved a lot of people, but I know we lost a lot of people," said the Hammersmith fire station watch manager

"I know we saved a lot of people, but I know we lost a lot of people," said the Hammersmith fire station watch manager

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Paul Watson, watch manager at Hammersmith fire station, is giving evidence at the public inquiry into the Grenfell Tower blaze. He spoke of feeling like he had "lost the battle" against the building at the end of his shift.

In a written statement to the public inquiry, he said: "Once the fire caught the cladding, and surrounded the building, we could have had a lot more firefighters on the ground but we wouldn't have put that job out. It moved so fast.

"The building didn't do its job and the building beat us. I came away thinking that we lost the battle and the building beat us.

"I know we saved a lot of people but I know we lost a lot of people.

"I came away from a low on that job as although we did the best we could, but circumstances, particularly the building, beat us."

Mr Watson described how he saw a "large puff of white smoke" coming out of the top of one of the lifts as the doors opened.

He decided they were not safe to use.

He said: "I made the decision that we couldn't use the lifts.

"They would have helped us considerably, but using them was too much of a risk."
 

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