On the night of the Manchester Arena bombing, the Chief Fire Service Officer in Greater Manchester was testifying today to the ongoing public investigation into the 2017 atrocities.
Officers and staff responsible for the ‘command and control’ of emergency resource acquisition are currently providing evidence in this part of the inquiry.
Peter O’Reilly was the Chief Fire Officer at the Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service.
He stepped down in 2018.
The May 22, 2017 terrorist attack killed 22 people and injured hundreds.
Suicide bomber Salman Abidi blew up a device in a bag at 10.31pm as people attending a concert were leaving the Ariana Grand Timk venue.
Abidi’s brother, Hashim Abidi, has spent at least 55 years behind bars for his role in helping his brother prepare for the attack.
In total, the inquiry is investigating the circumstances that led to the death of 22 people in the blast.
The inquiry said that during false reports of the shooting and a ‘dynamic shooter’ police announced Operation Pluto, a controversial response to the terrorist firearms attack, but the force failed to alert the fire service and ambulance service ۔
He could not contact the duty officer of the police force, who made the announcement, and the firefighters were rescued as a result.
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The bomber struck shortly after 10:31 a.m. – firefighters arrived at the scene just two hours later
Firefighters, hearing of the inquiry, expressed shock and anger at his late deployment, and turned their backs on the commander, trying to draw conclusions.
The crew was initially sent to a station three miles from the arena and then to Manchester Central, where they waited, less than a mile from the scene, when ambulance crews used the station as a base. He kept going back and forth to help the victims.
Deputy Chief Constable Ian Pelling of the Greater Manchester Police will resume his evidence on Thursday.
Manchester Evening News will provide live updates below.