Hampshire Fire Brigades Union chairman praises west London firefighters after Grenfell Tower blaze

A police car parked outside Catherine House in Stanhope Road, Portsmouth, earlier tonight. Picture: Byron Melton

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The chairman of the Hampshire Fire Brigades Union has praised the work of the emergency services tackling a massive fire at a tower block in west London.

Hampshire FBU chairman Nigel McCullen has commended the work of over 200 firefighters who have been battling the huge blaze at the 24-storey Grenfell Tower block, north Kensington, since 1am this morning.

Picture: Natalie_Oxford/PA

Picture: Natalie_Oxford/PA

Reports have suggested six people have died and at least 50 people have been taken to hospital for treatment.

Speaking to The News, Mr McCullen said: ‘I have massive respect for my firefighting colleagues in London. To be faced with what they were and enter that building not knowing whether it could collapse or not showed tremendous courage.

‘That goes for all the emergency services at the scene, including the police and the ambulances.

‘When you get to a job it’s like you’re on autopilot – you complete the work you have to.

‘All procedures are set in place and you do what you must to resolve the incident. But in this case, it is clear something has gone catastrophically wrong.’

Mr McCullen mirrored the message of reassurance to Portsmouth tower block residents that City Council leader Donna Jones issued this morning.

He said: ‘A lot of people could be worrying about their own buildings and I would like to reassure them that they are very, very safe.

‘Flats are essentially concrete boxes. I’ve been to numerous high-rise incidents where a flat have been gutted by fire but the ones next door have been fine.

‘I would like to advocate the policy that residents experiencing a fire in their own tower block are much safer when they stay in their own apartment.’