The head of the fire service at the time of Manchester Arena bombing says he will ‘always regret’ the delay in firefighters attending the aftermath of the atrocity - but has laid the blame at the door of the police. Peter O’Reilly was chief fire officer at Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) on May 22 last year, when 22 people were murdered and hundreds more injured. Firefighters only attended the scene more than two hours after the attack - even though crews heard the blast and were stationed just half a mile away. A report prepared by Lord Kerslake, published in March, was critical of the fire service’s response after the blast, describing the failure by those at the top of the organisation as ‘extraordinary’ and ‘incredible.’ Dawn Docx, the interim chief fire officer of GMFRS, who replaced Mr O’Reilly, later apologised unreservedly for the failures under the previous leadership. But Belfast-born Mr O’Reilly, … [Read more...] about Former Greater Manchester fire chief blames police for brigade’s delayed response to the Arena attack
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Soldiers have joined firefighters to help tackle a huge moorland fire between Derbyshire and Greater Manchester. Firefighters from Derbyshire have returned to the scene on Saddleworth Moor to assist colleagues from Greater Manchester, while the Ministry of Defence has also deployed troops from 4th Battalion, Royal Regiment of Scotland to help.The troops will work closely with over 100 firefighters throughout the day to provide additional support to crews tacking the fire, which is stretched across seven miles of moorland.Pictures and video show scale of huge fire on moorland between Derbyshire and Greater ManchesterGreater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) said the blaze has now been contained and crews are continuing to make good progress in extinguishing the fires.There are currently six affected areas across the moorland where firefighters and troops will be deployed to today.GMRFS Assistant Chief Fire Officer Tony Hunter said: "To have the support of the Armed Forces is … [Read more...] about Soldiers brought in to help with huge moorland fire between Derbyshire and Greater Manchester
People with asthma are being advised to take extra precautions against smoke as the major blaze continues to rage on the moors. Experts are warning that the flames up in Saddleworth Moor are generating high levels of pollutants that could have a significant effect on people’s health. As the battle against the fire goes into its fifth day, Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service is urging residents to keep doors and windows closed. Fighter fighters are now being joined by the Army to help bring the vast fire under control. Meanwhile, people have reported being able to smell smoke from the blaze as far away as Bolton and even Wigan. The smoke can irritate eyes, skin and air passages, leading to coughing and wheezing, breathlessness and chest pain, and it can also worsen existing problems. People with asthma are being told to carry their inhaler with them at all times and anyone concerned about symptoms is advised to contact their GP or NHS Direct. Dr Andy Whittamore, of the … [Read more...] about Warning over poor air quality in Greater Manchester due to moor fire
Residents have been evacuated as firefighters battle to control a massive blaze on Saddleworth Moor, north-east of Manchester, which has now been raging for two days. Declared a major incident by Greater Manchester Police (GMP) last night, the wildfire is thought to be the largest on the moor in living memory, the Manchester Evening News reports. The current mini-heatwave is already being identified as the cause of the blaze. Firefighters were initially called to a small fire near Buckton Vale, south-west of the moor, on Sunday evening, The Sun reports. “After working with a local gamekeeper to put out the blaze in a couple of hours, the heat caused it to reignite two days later,” says the newspaper. According to the BBC, the fire “then spread throughout Tuesday, fanned by evening winds”. Firefighters have been working “flat out” to contain the blaze, The Guardian reports. Helicopters dropped 65,000 gallons of water over the moor yesterday in an … [Read more...] about Saddleworth Moor: how did Manchester fire start?
A holidaymaker has captured a series of photos of a huge fire that has been spreading over moorland between Derbyshire and Greater Manchester. Firefighters have been battling the blaze on Saddleworth Moor since Tuesday. Crews from Derbyshire have been in attendance at the scene, helping colleagues from Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service with the fire, which has now been declared a major incident. Derbyshire firefighters continue to help with huge moorland fire - now declared a major incidentKate MacRea, 48, captured these images of the early stages of the fire from a plane when she was returning to Manchester Airport. She said: "It was about 7pm on Monday when I was coming in to land that I noticed the smoke."It looked like a volcano with the plumes of smoke rising up into the air. I took some pictures on my phone through the plane window and thought nothing more about it."It was only when I saw the blaze on the telly last night I realised I had photographed the early stages of … [Read more...] about Pictures and video show scale of huge fire on moorland between Derbyshire and Greater Manchester