Shirley Towers fire inquest ends

The coroner has completed his summing up at the inquest into the deaths of two fire fighters in Southampton. Alan Bannon and Jim Shears were killed as they tried to extinguish the blaze at Shirley Towers in April 2010.

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Fire Service "committed to learn from what happened at Shirley Towers."

John Bonney, Chief Officer of Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service said: " I have been committed to learn from what happened at Shirley Towers both for the families but also to protect my firefighters in the future.

The inquest has also heard how we have already made changes in equipment, training and procedures. But there are also national implications that arise from this fire and I am already making arrangements to ensure that the fire service as a whole benefits from the learning from this tragedy.

I cannot, guarantee to take my firefighters out of harms way at every incident. To make them totally safe on all occasions would mean that they could not do their job to protect and save the lives of others. Something that Jim and Alan did themselves at Shirley Towers."

Firefighters inquest: Fire Brigade Union statement

"These dedicated firefighters died in the line of duty and the inquest played a key role in establishing the facts of what happened. The biggest advances in firefighter safety have come from learning and applying the lessons of such tragedies.

"The Fire Brigades Union and Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service have worked together to agree 10 key recommendations. We will be raising those recommendations and our concerns with the fire minister to ensure lessons learned from tragedies like this are not lost or forgotten in the future."

Karl Horan, FBU member said:"To prevent a similar loss of life we call upon the Fire Minister and Sir Ken Knight, Chief Fire and Rescue Advisor, to ensure that the issues identified during this inquest are circulated to all UK Fire and Rescue Services and other relevant bodies.

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