Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service has responded to the Fire Brigade Union's report on the Atherstone-on-Stour warehouse fire in 2007, which killed four firefighters.
Chief Fire Officer, Andy Hickmott, released the following statement:
"The loss of four of our Warwickshire Fire fighters was a tragedy that remains with us all. The events of 2007 have already been the subject of an exhaustive, independent enquiry and lengthy criminal proceedings...
... We have learned lessons from the tragedy and our focus over the past 6 years has been to ensure that Warwickshire Fire & Rescue Service is an exemplar of best practice...
... We are pleased that the recent Peer review, which closely scrutinised how the service is performing both operationally and strategically, confirmed Warwickshire to be 'a very good performing service'."
Following today's report, the Fire Brigade's Union chief Matt Wrack, has called on the government to make changes to ensure a tragedy like the one at Atherstone in 2007 does not happen again:
It is appalling that firefighters are in some cases being killed in almost identical circumstances to those in which others have died. This is a terrible failing by those making key strategic decisions within the fire service and by central government...
... We need ministers in all four governments in the UK, as well as chief fire officers, fire authority members and other politicians, to take heed of what happened at Atherstone and work with firefighters to ensure such a tragedy is not repeated.
Following a report into the deaths of four firefighters who died in a Warwickshire warehouse blaze in 2007, the Fire Brigades Union General Secretary has criticised the fire services and government for the increasing number of deaths in the fire service.
Matt Wrack said:
“The deaths of these four brave men were caused by a catalogue of systemic failings at Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service... The fire killed more firefighters than any other since the 1970s...
... Over the last decade, twice as many firefighters lost their lives in fires as in the previous ten years, and it is clear that fire and rescue services and government are not learning lessons from these deaths."
According to a report by the Fire Brigades Union, the deaths of four firefighters were caused by a 'catalogue of organisational systemic failings' by Warwickshire Fire and Rescue Service.
The report, released today, looked into the deaths of John Averis, Darren Yates-Badley, Ian Reid and Ashley Stephens, who attended a fire at a vegetable packing plant in Atherstone-on-Stour on November 2nd 2007.
In 2012, Warwickshire County Council was fined £30,000 after pleading guilty for failing to ensure the health and safety if its employees.
Police are continuing investigations into crowd disturbances at Atherstone Town’s FA Cup third qualifying round match at home to Barrow yesterday.
Warwickshire Police have confirmed that one man was injured when scuffles broke out on the pitch and in the stands at half time, with the home side losing 4-0 to their higher league opponents. Reports suggest an elderly man was punched in the face, but did not require medical treatment.
Smoke bombs were also let off at in the ground during the match, and players from both sides were caught up in the trouble. A Barrow flag was also set on fire.
Officers are urging anyone who witnessed the events to come forward to help their investigations, and are asking for photographs or video footage that might help identify people involved. They are already working with the club to determine the circumstances that led to the trouble.
Atherstone Town have ‘unreservedly apologised’ for the crowd trouble that took place in yesterday’s FA Cup 3rd qualifying round defeat to Barrow.
In a statement on the club website, they say ‘all precautions were taken’ ahead of the match, but it was ‘ruined by the behaviour of a small minority of mindless idiots’.
The full statement reads:
"Atherstone Town's progression into the 3rd qualifying round of the FA Cup has been a great footballing and Club achievement. All those genuinely associated with the Club should be proud."
"Today we welcomed Conference North side, Barrow. Eventually the gulf in leagues told and Barrow were worthy winners. What should have been a great day for all was ruined by the behaviour of a small minority of mindless idiots."
"All precautions were taken and risks mitigated prior to the match. A professional squad of stewards and the Police were involved in a series of preparation meetings held with Club officials. All health and safety issues and obligations were addressed."
"We will be working closely with the Police and any other authorities to identify and if possible help bring prosecutions against those involved."
"Atherstone Town is a family Club and we will be working hard to rebuild our good reputation.We unreservedly apologise to any fan who had to witness the totally unacceptable scenes and behaviour."
"Although the Barrow Directors, management team and most supporters understood that it was a mindless minority, Atherstone Town would like to apologise and of course, wish them well in the next round and for the rest of the season. This is not what Atherstone Town stand for nor operate as a Club."