London’s first female commissioner to step down

Credit to Matt Writtle, Even Standards

The London Fire Commissioner Danny Cotton has agreed to step down at the end of the year.

Cotton, who has been highly criticised for London’s Fire Brigade’s (LFB) response to Grenfell Tower fire – where 72 people died, had previously announced that she would retire in April 2020 – four months later than agreed.

After a public inquiry into the Grenfell fire found LFB’s preparation and response had serious failings, concluding “many more lives” could have been saved.

Grenfell United have released their response to Cotton resigning: “the change in leadership is needed to keep Londoners safe.”

Ms Cotton, 50, has served the fire and rescue service for over three decades and was London’s first female commissioner.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: “I want to thank Danny Cotton for her 32 years of service at the London Fire Brigade.

“She was London Fire Brigade’s first woman Commissioner, has helped to inspire people from all backgrounds into considering a role in fire and rescue service.”

He also added that her retirement was the “right” decision.


On 14 June 2017, one of the UK’s biggest modern disasters took place.

A malfunctioning fridge-freezer caused a fire in Grenfell Tower on the fourth floor, spreading upwards rapidly and killing 72 people.

It took 25 minutes for the fire to spread 20 storeys from its source to the top of the tower.

The scale of the fire has been blamed on the cladding used during the tower’s most recent renovation. Since the disaster, both the insulation and cladding failed fire safety tests. The role the fire brigade had also been criticised.

A public Inquiry was initiated and hearings opened in September 2017 and was led by Sir Martin Moore-Bick.

The Phase 1 report was published on 30 October 2019.

Moore-Bick argued LFB’s “gravely inadequate preparation and planning… fell below standards”

Concluding the ‘Stay put’ policy – which is standard procedure – caused deaths: “Fewer people would have died if the order to evacuate had been given by 2am,”

The results put pressure on London’s fire commissioner Danny Cotton to step down.



Words: Dan Branston l Photo: Matt Writtle, Evening Standards

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