IslingtonTribune

The independent London newspaper

Islington fire chief: We must support Grenfell Tower blaze crews

‘Important part is just looking after people because it’s been difficult,’ he reveals

10 November, 2017 — By Joe Cooper

From left, Sean McLaughlin, Lesley Searey, Pat Goulbourne, Mayor Una O’Halloran and Richard Watts

A FIRE chief who saw the horrors of the Grenfell Tower blaze first-hand has been honoured for his service with lunch in the Islington mayor’s parlour.

Pat Goulbourne, who was the borough’s most senior firefighter until he was made assistant deputy commissioner for London Fire Brigade, said the tragedy at the council block in Kensington had alerted the fire service to the mental health impact its staff face when dealing with unimaginable tragedy.

He told the Tribune: “The important part is just looking after people, because it’s been difficult. I had crews from Islington and Tower Hamlets working together in Grenfell and we’ve got to make sure the support is there for them.”

Mr Goulbourne, who worked in Islington for four years, added: “It’s unusual in the fire service to talk about mental health but that’s because Dany Cotton, our chief commissioner, has led the way.

“London has had a difficult year but also we’ve got to note that Londoners have been unbelievably good and generous.”

Just days after Grenfell, he was one of the first on the scene at the Muslim Welfare House attack in Finsbury Park.

He was invited to meet Mayor Una O’Halloran at a lunch on Tuesday, along with council leader Richard Watts, chief executive Lesley Searey and council housing director Sean McLaughlin.

Mr Goulbourne also attended the Daily Mirror’s Pride of Britain ceremony on Tuesday to pick up an award on behalf of firefighters.

“I said at the ceremony that we can’t get all 200 firefighters who were there at 3am in the morning into one room, but we’d like to,” he said.

“The crews from Islington and Tower Hamlets were relentless in what they were trying to achieve and I’m just really proud of them.”

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