Paramedic describes 'chaos and confusion' at Manchester Arena bombing

Paramedic describes ‘chaos and confusion’ at Manchester Arena bombing as she tells inquiry fire crews ‘needed to be there with us that night’

  • Helen Mottram said there were injured people on the street when she arrived at Victoria station and it was a ‘scene of confusion’
  • Speaking to a public inquiry, Mrs Mottram said she expected to see fire crews involved in the operation
  • The inquiry has previously heard no-one from Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service attended the Arena until more than two hours after blast 

A paramedic has told the Manchester Arena bombing inquiry ‘there was chaos and confusion everywhere’ and fire crews ‘needed to be there with us that night’.

Helen Mottram said there were injured people on the street when she arrived at Victoria station after Salman Abedi detonated a bomb which killed 22 people and injured hundreds of others at the end of an Ariana Grande concert on May 22 2017.

The North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) paramedic said operations manager Derek Poland gave a briefing in which he said the scene could not be guaranteed safe and asked for volunteers.

Paramedic Helen Mottram has told the Manchester Arena bombing inquiry ‘there was chaos and confusion everywhere’ and fire crews ‘needed to be there with us that night’

‘I put my hand straight up,’ said Mrs Mottram, who was assigned the role of triage officer.

She was tasked with determining the seriousness of casualties’ conditions as they were brought down to the station concourse from the blast area in the venue’s City Room foyer.

Giving evidence at the public inquiry by video-link on Wednesday, Mrs Mottram agreed with Paul Greaney QC, counsel to the inquiry, that it was a ‘scene of confusion’.

Asked if there was an ‘element of chaos’ to what was happening, she said: ‘Of course. There had just been a terrorist attack, we were dealing with the aftermath of a terrorist attack, so obviously there was chaos and confusion everywhere.’

Giving evidence at the public inquiry by video-link on Wednesday, Mrs Mottram agreed with Paul Greaney QC, counsel to the inquiry, that it was a ‘scene of confusion’

The inquiry has previously heard no-one from Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) attended the arena until more than two hours after the explosion.

Mrs Mottram, whose husband Nicholas Mottram – a GMFRS watch manager – previously gave evidence to the inquiry, said she was surprised to see casualties being brought down on makeshift stretchers by police officers.

She said she would have expected to see fire crews involved in the operation.

‘There was metal railings, there was billboards, signage, makeshift stretchers I would refer to them,’ she said.

Mrs Mottram said she would have expected to see fire crews involved in the operation

‘I think from me arriving on scene in the casualty clearance station all patients were down in about 25 minutes.

‘It was such a quick cascade of patients and I was so focused on the patients and not missing anyone.

‘But yes, I would’ve expected GMFRS would have been very much part of that operation.

‘They are a rescue service and not just a fire brigade and they needed to be there with us that night, and I’m so sorry and I apologise.’

Mrs Mottram said in her view, Jesip (Joint Emergency Services Interoperability Programme), in which the main emergency services work together to form a unified response to a major incident, had not worked on the night of the attack.

Asked why, she said: ‘Because there didn’t seem to be any official communication with the GMFRS.’

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