Fire expert says government stonewalled sprinkler warnings, reports FELICITY COLLIER
A FORMER fire chief accused the government yesterday of ignoring warnings about the need to install life-saving sprinklers in schools.
And Ronnie King, who was appointed honorary secretary of the all-party parliamentary group on fire safety after 40 years in the fire service, said that with regard to public housing safety, urgent requests for meetings with ministers — including then housing minister
Gavin Barwell — were turned down, and a call for action on safety rules disregarded.
In the wake of this week’s Grenfell Tower tragedy, he warned: “[The government] seem to need a disaster to change regulations rather than evidence and experience.
“It was the same with the King’s Cross fire and the Bradford City Football Club fire. They always seem to need a significant loss of life before things are changed.”
Reports into a fire in south London in 2009 in which six people died and a coroner’s report led to urgent calls for action. But those calls were never acted on and a promised review of building and safety regulations never started. In October Mr Barwell told MPs: “We have not set out any formal plans to review the building regulations as a whole, but we have publicly committed ourselves to reviewing [fire safety regulations] following the [south london] fire.”