Mark Taylor, Tony Prosser

The Grenfell Tower Fire: Benign neglect and the road to an avoidable tragedy


An in-depth review of the world of fire over the last half-century and how the tragedy of Grenfell Tower has its roots in decisions made in the 1980s. This book is a must for anyone interested in the history and development of the fire service and the fire industry, and how disparate decisions made in isolation linked together on one fateful night in June 2017.



Making sense of the worst fire in the UK since 1945 can seem like an impossible task given the confusion observed in the media and in the courts since the fire. Tony Prosser and Mark Taylor, together with nearly 80 years of experience in the fire and rescue service, bring an insiders’ perspective to the challenges faced by firefighters on the night, and the reasons why such an event was allowed to occur. They consider how a fire safety regime, which was one of the most sophisticated in the world, failed to prevent 72 residents in a modern building from dying. They also consider how legislation has changed and why firefighters are now marginalised by Government despite having reduced fire deaths in the home by nearly 50% in 15 years.


Tony Prosser BSc(Hons), MSc, MBA, MEPS, FHEA, FI Fire E
Tony served in the UKFRS for 30 years including 23 years as a senior operational command officer in roles from Station Commander to Brigade Commander. His managerial roles include Director of Operations, Strategic Lead for Development and Head of Fire Protection and Prevention in West Midlands Fire Service and Head of Fire Protection in Oxfordshire FRS. He has been responsible for some of the largest incidents in West Midlands in recent years! He is a senior lecturer at the University of Wolverhampton and has worked as an incident command assessor at the Fire Service College, taught emergency planning and incident management for the Emergency Planning College and the International Fire Training centre. He has been a correspondent for FIRE Magazine for over 15 years and writes on operational, fire and community safety and FRS political issues.

Mark Taylor MA, PG Cert HE, FHEA, GI Fire E
Mark worked for the Fire and Rescue Service for over 30 years in strategic roles including Operations Commander, Head of Command and Operational Training and Head of Terrorism and Contingency Planning for West Midlands Fire and Rescue Service. He has been involved in a wide range of major incidents and exercises at national and international level, including the 2007 floods and the Birmingham riots. As a senior lecturer at the Emergency Planning College and the Fire Service College, he has developed a range of programmes and courses which meet both practical and organisational needs of national and local Government, fire and rescue services, businesses and the academic requirements of students and tertiary institutions.

Artemis Training and Development
On leaving the FRS in 2012, Mark and Tony formed Artemis Training and Development to deliver incident command training to a wide range of public and private sector fire and rescue services, airport rescue and firefighting services, national companies including National Grid, Network Rail, High Speed 1 and created a series of Fire and Rescue Degree programmes at the University of Wolverhampton.


ISBN: 978-1-913414-60-3

Format: Paperback

Publisher: Pavilion Publishing and Media Ltd

Publication date: September 2020


  1. Introduction
  2. A brief history of social housing
  3. Domestic Fire Safety
  4. Fire Safety Legislation in the UK
  5. The Regulatory Reform Order
  6. Building Regulations
  7. The Design of High Rise Tower Blocks
  8. Organisation of the UK fire and rescue services
  9. High Rise Firefighting
  10. Warnings
  11. The Fire
  12. Aftermath
  13. Inquiries and the blame game
  14. Where do we go from here?


Firefighting professionals; Fire Service Managers; Housing Professionals, local and central government officers; architects and others seeking to understand how in a modern society, so many gaps can be found in the safety net which should be protecting some of the most vulnerable in the community.


  1. Duncan J White – Group Editor, International Fire Fighter Magazine

    The Grenfell Tower Fire: Benign neglect and the road to an avoidable tragedy is a must-read for anyone who still asks ‘How could this have happened in the 21st century?’
    Tony and Mark give an insight into the historical inaction following similar fires which played a part in this tragedy. They leave the reader in no doubt of the real reasons why 72 people tragically lost their lives and thousands of others continue to live with this every day.

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