Arrests over firefighter deaths?

The Fire Brigades Union says it's concerned by moves to arrest three managers over the deaths of four firefighters killed in a warehouse fire.

Ian Reid, John Averis, Ashley Stephens and Darren Yates-Badly all died in the factory blaze in Atherstone-on-Stour in November 2007.

All three fire chiefs were involved in the incident command process and may face allegations of gross negligence manslaughter in relation to the deaths.

All three have been told, by letter, to attend a Warwickshire Police station where they have been told they will be arrested and interviewed under caution.

Matt Wrack, FBU General Secretary, said: " It is important for the families and colleagues of those who died to establish what happened. It is important that all fire services learn all the lessons from this incident and we support that aim."

"We are concerned at the move to arrest these individuals at this stage when all other key players have not even been interviewed. We understand that, even two years after the deaths, all very top corporate managers – who may have critical information - have still not even been interviewed. "

"Evidence from our own on-going investigation suggests there may be systemic failings. Any systemic failings within Warwickshire fire service, if they are established, would be the responsibility of the fire authority."

Meanwhile Warwickshire Police released a staying saying they won't comment on the potential arrests. But a spokesman said:

"The investigation into the fire at Atherstone on Stour is still ongoing.

"We have interviewed many people during the course of the investigation including fire service personnel and Wealmoor employees who were working at the vegetable packing plant on the day of the fire.

"We have not yet completed the interview process and expect it to continue for a number of months.

"We cannot confirm any details about personnel involved in the process".

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