The unsung hero of Grenfell: Incredible bravery of off-duty engineer who risked his life by heading into blazing tower to turn off gas comes to light in report
- Today’s report ends phase 1 of public inquiry, followed by phase 2 in Jan 2020
- The report uncovered acts of bravery by gas engineer Jason Allday and his team
- Mr Allday not meant to be working but saw incident on TV and went to the scene
An off-duty engineer risked his life by heading into the blazing Grenfell Tower to turn off the gas supply, it has emerged.
Chairman Sir Martin Moore-Bick released the report marking the first phase of the inquiry into the blaze on June 17, 2017, that cost 72 people their lives, today.
It uncovered an act of courage by gas engineer Jason Allday and his team, who were praised in the report as ‘doing an excellent job’ in cutting off the supply to the tower.
Mr Allday was not even meant to be working that day but saw a TV report of the incident and arrived at the scene at 7.20am thinking he would be needed.
The gas engineer was told by the London Fire Brigade (LFB) they wanted the gas supply to the tower turned off, and just hours later they asked him if he would be willing to go into the basement and shut off the valves himself.
Chairman Sir Martin Moore-Bick released the report marking the first phase of the inquiry into the blaze on June 17, 2017, that cost 72 people their lives, today
At 3.50pm, Mr Allday and Patrick Kelly, a member of the contract management team at Cadent, the firm who supplied the gas for the building, approached the basement with three firefighters.
They were carrying riot shields the protect them against the risk of falling debris, but the extreme conditions meant Mr Allday was unable to do anything other than carry out a quick inspection.
After less than five minutes firefighters warned everyone to leave the building for fears it was about to collapse.
Due to the extraordinary danger it wasn’t possible to turn off the valves in the building, so Mr Allday and his team set about trying to shut off the gas supply in the surrounding roads.
But this came with its own risks due to continued concerns about the stability of the building.
Work was only able to continue due to LFB firefighters used as ‘spotters’ to watch for any changes in the tower.
A team of exhausted firefighters rest at the scene of the blaze in North Kensington in June 2017 – bosses have been accused of throwing them under the bus
In his submission to the inquiry, Mr Allday recalled a number of ‘tense’ moments when tough decisions had to be made about carrying on the dangerous work.
The gas was cut off at 11.40pm leading to the flames in the tower dying down immediately.
Mr Allday and the Cadent team were praised for doing an ‘excellent job in finding the local gas mains and cutting off the supply of gas to the tower.’
In addition Mr Allday – who spent 24 hours on site – was praised for his ‘inspirational leadership’ and ‘careful execution.’
Phase 2 of the inquiry, expected to last about two years, will seek to establish how, why and by whom the decision to install the flammable cladding system was made.