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7/7 firefighters 'lacked training'

Firefighters lacked the training and first aid equipment to treat the most seriously injured victims of the 7/7 bombings, an inquest has heard.

Those caught up in the attack at Aldgate in London were either able to walk away or so badly hurt that there was nothing fire crews could do for them, the hearing was told on Monday.

Firefighter Sean Jones said the first aid kit carried by his fire engine at the time contained only basic supplies, such as bandages, and was "useless" for treating the horrific injuries they encountered.

The inquest for the 52 victims of the 2005 attacks has heard that police and firefighters were the first emergency services to reach the bombed Circle Line train at Aldgate station, with paramedics arriving afterwards.

Mr Jones told the hearing that he spent up to two hours in the devastated carriage trying to help the wounded and dying. He said: "The nature of the injuries that we saw on the train, there was no mild first aid - it's either seriously injured or they get up and walk off. So there was no triage that needed to be done, there was nothing like that.

"It was just purely a case of the casualties that we saw were way beyond our remit and skill levels to be able to treat. So our first aid kit would have been useless anyway. We needed paramedics and HEMS (Helicopter Emergency Medical Service) there."

Hugo Keith QC, counsel to the inquests, asked him: "In truth there was nothing that you or perhaps the police officers could have done for them because none of you had the specialist medical equipment?"

The firefighter replied: "There was nothing that could have been done."

Suicide bomber Shehzad Tanweer detonated his device on an eastbound Circle Line train at Aldgate at about 8.50am on July 7 2005, killing seven people. Mr Jones, who in 2005 was based at Southwark fire station in south London, said his crew was called to reports of smoke coming from the Tube tunnel, a relatively common occurrence.

He was shocked to find people with smoke-blackened faces emerging from the Underground and other firefighters treating the injured at the station entrance. "My initial thought was it was some kind of exercise, it just didn't tally with our call, the call we got mobilised to," he said.


From Belfast Telegraph