THE families of the firefighters who died as a result of the Atherstone-on-Stour warehouse blaze over five years ago now believe that only a full-scale public inquiry can establish the truth behind the tragedy.
They contend that the two court cases that have taken place in connection with the fire have failed to unearth the whole story. “We have to know, as families, what happened to them and why,” the mother of one of the dead firefighters told the Herald this week.
Last Friday Warwickshire County Council was fined £30,000 at Stafford Crown Court after admitting a breach of health and safety regulations. In May, at the same court and before the same judge, a jury acquitted three fire managers of gross negligence manslaughter.
The families argue that not all the evidence emerged during the court hearings that have taken place over the past few months. In the New Year they will be getting together to decide what further action to take and whether to press for a public inquiry into the tragedy.
This week Mandy Baylis, mother of one of the victims, Darren Yates-Badley, who was 24 at the time of this death, told the Herald: “We will be pushing for this to go further forward. It’s not going to go away. We have to know as families what happened to them and why.”
Julie Reid, widow of firefighter Ian Reid, aged 44, who died in hospital, is determined to dig as deep as possible to find out as much as she can about what happened on that fateful Friday night on 2nd November 2007.
She has already asked, under the Freedom of Information Act, for copies of the original witness statements given to the police by firefighters who were tackling the blaze on the night. The request has been refused on the grounds that the statements are the property of the police and would require the written permission of the witnesses before they could be handed over.
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