The Fire Brigades Union has written to US counterparts to offer to work together on building safety campaigning in light of the Bronx apartment fire and the Grenfell Tower disaster.
The deadly fire, which took place on 9 of January, claimed the lives of 19 people, including children. It took place in a 19-storey apartment block.
Early reports have pointed to similarities between the Bronx disaster and Grenfell, with failing door closers, lift problems, a lack of sprinklers and an ignorance of resident voices in the years up to the incidents all present for both fires.
In letters sent to Andrew Ansbro, President of the Uniformed Firefighters Association (Greater NY Local 94 of the International Association of Fire Fighters), and Edward A. Kelly, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, general secretary of the Fire Brigades Union Matt Wrack said: ‘The FBU continues to campaign for justice for the victims of Grenfell Tower and for a wholesale overhaul of the building safety regime in the UK, and we are always happy to coordinate… on this work.’
He also wrote: ‘For many of our members, [the fire] will bring back awful memories of battling the Grenfell Tower apartment block fire in London in 2017 … In order to prevent anything like this occurring again, may this disaster prompt politicians to assess fire safety measures in similar buildings.’
In the years since the Grenfell Tower disaster the Fire Brigades Union has been working extensively to investigate the causes of the fire and hold those responsible to account, producing reports and participating in the Grenfell Tower Inquiry (see here, here and here). It has repeatedly pointed blame at the building-safety system as a whole and government deregulatory agendas stretching back 40 years.
The Grenfell United group representing survivors and bereaved said they were ‘devastated’ to hear of the fire and said its thoughts and prayers were with the families, and a victim of the fire told ITV that ‘you had Grenfell, this is our Grenfell’.