London Fire Brigade boss steps down early amid Grenfell criticism

Friday, December 6, 2019

London Fire Brigade Commissioner Dany Cotton is stepping down from her role four months early amid criticism of the service's response to the Grenfell fire.

Ms Cotton, 50, will leave her role at the end of December after facing pressure to resign from bereaved families and survivors of the blaze in the wake of a critical public inquiry report.

The Grenfell inquiry's report found that the London Fire Brigade (LFB)'s preparation for a tower block fire such as Grenfell was "gravely inadequate" and its lack of an evacuation plan was a "major omission".

And inquiry chairman, Sir Martin Moore-Bick, said more lives could have been saved in the June 2017 fire had the "stay-put" policy been abandoned sooner.

Ms Cotton, London's first female fire chief, had been due to retire in April 2020 after 32 years of service.

Grenfell United, a group for bereaved families and survivors, welcomed her early retirement.

In a statement, it said the change in leadership was needed "to keep Londoners safe".

Ms Cotton had previously resisted multiple calls for her to resign and welcomed the report's recommendations, saying they would be "carefully and fully" considered by senior officers.

Commenting on her retirement, Ms Cotton said she was "proud" and "honoured" to have served London and to have stood "shoulder to shoulder" with fire service staff during her career.

The LFB said interviews for the role of Fire Commissioner would take place this month.

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