Fire Service leaders pay tribute to Sir David Amess, a long-term fire safety campaigner and Chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Fire Safety and Rescue Group.
National Fire Chiefs Council Chair Mark Hardingham said: “I am appalled and saddened by this mindless and senseless attack, which has sent shockwaves across the country. My thoughts are with his friends and family at this tragic time. It is shocking that someone carrying out their day-to-day work has lost their life in such a brutal manner.
“Sir David was a staunch campaigner for fire safety and led a number of parliamentary campaigns in this area. NFCC, Fire Service colleagues and many across the wider fire sector have worked closely with him – I know I speak for all of them when I say how shocked we all are by his untimely and tragic death.
“He campaigned both personally and in parliament for the use of sprinklers and improving building safety. Sir David always made his views clear and tackled issues such as these with great passion and clarity.
“This was apparent through his many years of work chairing the All-Party Parliamentary Fire Safety and Rescue Group and also in many parliamentary debates about fire safety. He contributed to saving lives and protecting properties, while leading the call for change. He will be sorely missed.
“No doubt this terrible attack will bring back memories for the family of fellow parliamentarian Jo Cox, who lost her life in similar circumstances and my thoughts are with them also. Everyone has the right to live their lives without fear of attack and I sincerely hope the perpetrator is swiftly brought to justice.”
Ronnie King, Fire Adviser and Honorary Administrative Secretary to the All-Party Parliamentary Fire Safety and Rescue Group, said: “I have been privileged to know Sir David as a great ‘champion’ for fire safety and rescue and a good and true friend over the past 20 years through our work together with the All-Party Group, which he chaired with much vigour and passion. I am proud to have been its Fire Adviser and Honorary Administrative Secretary for the past ten of those years, and our lives have been enriched by having the benefit of having such a committed and kind person leading the group, whose decency touched everybody he met. His sunny optimism, revealed by that broad smile, his basic decency, his generosity and his modesty made him a wonderful leader for the group.
“He was one of those rare human beings who looked for the best in others and, in doing so, brought out the best in them. He was dedicated, passionate, firm in his beliefs but never anything less than respectful for those who thought differently, which is why he got the best out of this ‘cross party’ group. A really lovely man, who was one of that select band of people who are truly life-enhancing. When you left a meeting with David, even a chance encounter, you felt happier and better than you had felt before.
“No one could have been more passionate about fire safety, nor fought harder for it over the past ten years, following the fire tragedies of Lakanal House and Grenfell Tower. Whenever he spoke on fire and safety David’s message was consistent, as evidenced in his article in Parliament’s own House Magazine of March 9, 2020, where he stated: ‘The horrendous Grenfell Tower fire should never have happened; if only the recommendations and advice of the All-Party Parliamentary Fire Safety and Rescue Group had been listened to following the Lakanal House fire.
“He was one of those rare human beings who looked for the best in others and, in doing so, brought out the best in them”
‘It is important to mobilise the expertise in the UK’s fire safety sector. Heightened awareness combined with effective protection and resilient, robust, low-risk construction is essential. That includes applying best-protection practice. It therefore remains a mystery why the benefits of sprinklers are not more widely employed with fire containment.
‘The scandal of apartment leaseholders unfairly confronted by high costs, trapped in blocks judged unsafe because of ACM cladding, illustrates the wider community impact of fire’.
“Sir David’s drive and enthusiasm for fire safe buildings made the APPG, almost uniquely, a principal part of the fabric of the UKs fire safety sector. I strongly believe therefore that the All-Party Parliamentary Group, and the wider fire safety sector, owe it to Sir David to continue his fine work with even greater vigour.”
Sir David is survived Julia, his wife, and his children David Jnr, Katherine, Sarah, Alex and Florence.