Grenfell Tower firefighters receive £20 million in compensation

More than 100 firefighters have been awarded £20 million as part of an out-of-court settlement in relation to the devastating 2017 Grenfell Tower fire.

The FPA first reported on the civil claims case in December 2023, where it was announced that a total of 114 firefighters would be financially compensated for their involvement in the emergency response effort for the tower block fire that took 72 lives.

As detailed by the Fire Brigades Union (FBU), the severity of the incident left some firefighters “unable to work again due to severe trauma, for personal injury and loss caused by alleged negligence and breach of statutory duty”. Claims for damages were brought against Arconic Architectural Products, the makers of the combustible cladding used during the tower’s refurbishment; Celotex, of Saint Gobain, who made the combustible cladding; Rydon Maintenance Limited, the main contractor; the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC) Council, responsible for the tower’s management; and the London Fire Commissioner.

In a report from November 2023, chief executive for the RBKC council Maxine Holdsworth stated: “The council understands the sensitivities within the community regarding the role of the fire service and its firefighters on the night of the fire. As part of the alternative dispute resolution process, the council has worked with other defendants to ensure that valid claims are resolved and compensated, in a way that mitigates the financial impact on the public purse.”

The FBU has since confirmed that, as part of the High Court settlement, 114 firefighters will be compensated in the region of £20 million. Supported by the union, the group was represented by Thompsons Solicitors, and according to The Guardian, payouts for each firefighter range from £10,000 to £1.1 million. It follows a wider set of claims (around 1,100) that were lodged by several parties since the 2017 fire. In April 2023, 900 bereaved family members, survivors, and residents were awarded £150 million in a separate out-of-court settlement agreement. Notably, these High Court settlements have no bearing on the ongoing public Inquiry, the final report of which is expected at some point this year.

In a statement released on 1 February 2024, the general secretary for the FBU, Matt Wrack said: "The aftermath of the Grenfell Tower tragedy is a stark reminder of the systemic failings of building safety and government accountability. Firefighters, many of whom have been deeply affected by the horrors they witnessed, continue to advocate for those living in unsafe conditions.

This was a crime of deregulation and negligence – a consequence of private profit being prioritised over public safety. Nearly seven years later, the fight for justice and change goes on. The Fire Brigades Union stands shoulder to shoulder with the victims and survivors of Grenfell Tower, and with leaseholders and campaign groups across the UK. We demand that the government takes urgent action to ensure such a disaster never recurs, and that there is meaningful accountability for a tragedy born out of disregard for human life."

Vincent Reynolds of Thompsons Solicitors added: “The Grenfell Tower fire left an indelible mark on the firefighters who responded to the call. Many bear the psychological scars of that night, struggling with trauma from the harrowing experience. Their testimonies reveal the profound personal sacrifice of showing such extraordinary courage in the face of an impossible situation.

The incident exposed them to unimaginable scenes and sparked a deeper reflection on fire and building safety policy. Their experiences on that night and in its aftermath highlight the human element of firefighting, underscoring their commitment to their duty despite the immense risks and emotional toll.

We hope this settlement brings closure of a sort for these firefighters, although we know that for many, the injuries will last a lifetime.”