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Cotton announces decision to step down as London Fire Brigade commissioner

Campaign group Grenfell United said that it would not allow her to evade responsibility

DANY COTTON announced her retirement as London Fire Brigade commissioner today. 

She said that she will be retiring next April at the age of 50.

London’s first female fire commissioner cited the devastation of the Grenfell Tower fire — which she said “will never leave me.”

Giving evidence at the public inquiry into the tragedy was the “most difficult” thing in her career, she said.

Ms Cotton was criticised by Grenfell survivors after telling the inquiry she would change nothing about her team’s response on the night of the fire.

She revealed she had traumatic memory loss and had received counselling since the June 14 2017 tower block fire that killed 72 people.

Campaign group Grenfell United, which represents bereaved families and survivors, said that they would not allow her to evade responsibility through “this carefully choreographed retirement.”

They also said: “This cannot be the start of people who have lessons to learn from Grenfell heading off to retirement without taking responsibility. Dany Cotton will still have questions to answer in phase two of the inquiry.”

Ms Cotton said: “I want to reassure my staff and all those affected by the tragedy that I will remain dedicated to leading London Fire Brigade through any findings from phase one of the public inquiry and into phase two which is expected to begin next January.”

At the inquiry, she had admitted she had not spent much time thinking about the tragedy while head of the LFB as “it would be no good for me to fall apart.”

She also said the fire would have been deemed an “unrealistic scenario” and preparing for it would have been like preparing for a “space shuttle to land in front of the Shard.”

Fire Brigades Union general secretary Matt Wrack paid tribute to Ms Cotton for her “decades of public service” after joining LFB at the age of 18.

He added: “During Dany’s tenure as commissioner she has improved relationships between the FBU and the London Fire Brigade.

“Although we often disagreed, we have always maintained open lines of communication, which we welcome.

“Dany has been at the forefront of the LFB during one of its most challenging times, having risen up through the ranks as an operational firefighter, and paving the way for future generations of women firefighters to achieve roles at all levels within the service.”

She was also commended by London mayor Sadiq Khan who called her a “truly exceptional firefighter” and a “role model” for women in the profession.

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