Ricky and Steve were Fire Fighters at Grenfell and are now trying to raise awareness of fire safety to as many people as possible. Research suggests that only 17% of people have a fire extinguisher in their home, so it’s important that people are fire safe. Here are some of their memories from the fateful night:
Steve: “Now I remember looking at some of these very experienced Senior London fire brigade offices. They had been through some significant incidences; they were far more experienced than I was and they had never seen anything on this scale. It was just like a battleground and firefighters were just gone. It was an amazing feeling when you could walk around and recognise fire fighters you knew. There was no safe space afterwards though, it affected everybody.”
Ricky: “We're all at one of the worst fires ever, all our people trying to contact us, my girlfriend, Mum and three-year-old son turned on the news and saw Grenfell engulfed in flames, I couldn’t tell them I was OK. The news was doing a really bad job of reassuring people at home that the tower isn't going to collapse when in reality, it could collapse at any minute…
…There's such a bond between firefighters because we are going to trauma all the time and it bonds you. We watched the floods of people turning up, the emotion from different ethnicities, different religious backgrounds, everyone was just coming together. People from mosques were in churches. People from churches were in mosques. Everybody was just bringing stuff wherever they could. Even if it wasn't needed, people felt compelled to bring something.
I think the problem with that is people have the mindset of “I know fires happen, but it's not going to happen to me, I'm safe. I know car crashes happen, but I stick to the speed limits. I wear my seatbelt. I'm safe.” Our presence, particularly when it comes to home fire safety visits, brings a bit of reality.
A fire service will always rather turn up to a house unnecessarily because a bin fire was put out than turn up and be there for six hours and remove a dead body from a fire that started in a bin. If there's a safe way of dealing with it early, it must be the best way, just logic. You know, we don't want to be encouraging people to, to do a job for the fire service, but if there is a means, a method of early intervention that is going to save your life, who, who in invite mind, isn't going to want that.”