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Firefighters in Manchester, where 22 people were killed by a suicide bomber, could not deal with a terror attack today because of a row with union leaders, a watchdog warned.
It said lives 'could very well be lost' as Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service had lost its specialist capability for dealing with atrocities in a pay stand-off with the Fire Brigades Union.
Gap - Brigade - Fire - Officers - Merseyside
The 'serious gap' means the brigade would have to rely on fire officers from neighbouring Merseyside to help tackle a future terror strike.
HM Inspectorate of Fire and Rescue Services expressed 'considerable concern' for the 'safety of the public', adding: 'The matter deserves the most urgent attention.'
May - Islamic - State-inspired - Extremist - Salman
In May 2017, Islamic State-inspired extremist Salman Abedi blew himself up at a pop concert at Manchester Arena, killing 22 and injuring scores of others.
Specialist firefighters go into so-called 'warm zones' during terror attacks to put out fires, lead evacuations, extract casualties and administer first aid.
Manchester - Team - Pay - Dispute - HM
But Manchester's team of 60 was disbanded due to the pay dispute and HM Inspector Zoe Billingham said it has not had the capability to respond to terror-related incidents since last year.
Greater Manchester's chief fire officer Jim Wallace said it only affects firearms attacks and the service could respond to all other kinds of terrorist incident.
'This - Dispute - Fire - Brigades - Union
He added: 'This is an ongoing and longstanding national dispute between the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) and Fire and Rescue Service Employers, which is why we were unable to resolve it locally.
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