Senior firefighter: I urged Grenfell residents to escape

Residents were advised by the fire brigade to stay in their flats until 2.47am - a decision which is feared to have been fatal

Residents were advised by the fire brigade to stay in their flats until 2.47am - a decision which is feared to have been fatal

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

A senior firefighter has said he urged Grenfell Tower residents to ignore official advice and escape as the fire intensified, telling an inquiry: "I was doing what I felt was right."

Daniel Egan, a station manager in regulatory fire safety, arrived shortly before 2am on June 14 last year and co-ordinated 999 call information.

He told the inquiry into the disaster on Tuesday that his "initial thoughts were that we needed to get people out of that building", but, hours on, found the lack of progress "very frustrating".

Residents were advised by the fire brigade to stay in their flats until 2.47am - a decision which is feared to have been fatal.

Mr Egan, who has 26 years' service, attempted to pass information about the location of trapped occupants to rescue crews, but heard nothing back.

His written statement described how he willed senior commanders to order an evacuation as flats were "being engulfed in flames".

He told the hearing at Holborn Bars: "I believed we needed to just evacuate the building. We weren't getting any information back in regards to information we have been putting through.

"They were obviously under the cosh, the guys that were in there, I could tell just looking at the building that everybody's lives were in danger - residents, firefighters, everybody - it was a case of they just needed to get out."

Mr Egan's evidence was punctuated by displays of emotion, forcing him to pause and compose himself as he remembered how "quiet, eerie" it was inside the west London block.

He began overruling stay-put advice when talking to onlookers who had loved ones in the tower, the hearing was told.

He said: "My advice to them was if they are on the phone to the people (inside Grenfell Tower) is to get out of the building.

"I know that it was against what they should have been doing or what they were being told to do, but in that situation I told them to get out.

"I was doing what I felt was right."