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First red plaque memorial to firefighters killed in line of duty damaged in Bethnal Green

PUBLISHED: 16:00 15 September 2018

Billy Faust and Adam Meere. Pic: Stefano Cagnoni/FBU

Billy Faust and Adam Meere. Pic: Stefano Cagnoni/FBU

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A plaque commemorating two firefighters who died tackling a blaze has been damaged in a possible act of vandalism.

A memorial in Bethnal Green to two firefighters who lost their lives on duty has been damaged. Pic: @LFBTowerHamletsA memorial in Bethnal Green to two firefighters who lost their lives on duty has been damaged. Pic: @LFBTowerHamlets

The memorial in Museum Gardens, Cambridge Heath Road, Bethnal Green, had part of its pedestal broken when it was discovered during a routine check on Wednesday.

Fire Brigade Union (FBU) executive council member for London, Paul Embery, said: “We are very disappointed the red plaque has been damaged.

“We are unsure if this was the result of deliberate vandalism or an accident.”

The plaque commemorates Billy Faust, 36, and Adam Meere, 27, who died battling against an intense fire at a car tyre shop in Bethnal Green on July 20, 2004.

The plaque when it was unveiled with Billy Faust's family plus Matt Wrack of the FBU, Dany Cotton of the LFB and Jon Scott, an FBU member who helped to arrange the plaque. Pic: Stefano Cagnoni/FBUThe plaque when it was unveiled with Billy Faust's family plus Matt Wrack of the FBU, Dany Cotton of the LFB and Jon Scott, an FBU member who helped to arrange the plaque. Pic: Stefano Cagnoni/FBU

A ‘catalogue of errors’ led to the two men being killed after they entered the basement of the three-storey building, a later inquest found.

The men, who were stationed in Whitechapel, were among 50 firefighters called to the blaze.

They were in a basement when an explosion tore through the building. Their deaths eventually led to better training and safety procedures.

The Billy Faust and Adam Meere memorial is a short distance from the scene of the fire.

Before it was unveiled on December 1 last year Dave Faust, Billy’s father, said the family took solace that his son and colleague Adam would be commemorated.

“It means a lot to the families of firefighters who have died in the line of duty that their sacrifices are not forgotten,” Mr Faust said.

The red sign mounted on a stone plinth is the first of its kind in the country and the fire brigade’s equivalent to the familiar English Heritage blue plaques marking the lives of famous people.

The brigade’s scheme honours fallen firefighters who have been killed in the line of duty.

It is funded by the Firefighters 100 Lottery – a weekly online lottery created to support firefighters, their bereaved families and to honour the bravery and sacrifice of firefighters killed on duty.

Mr Embery said that repair work was being carried out and urged anyone with information to contact the trade union by email at press@fbu.org.uk or to tweet them on @fbunational.

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