24 January 2024

West Midlands fire chief Wayne Brown found dead ‘amid qualifications probe’

24 January 2024

West Midlands Fire Service chief Wayne Brown has been found dead at his home.

The fire service said he was found at an address in Birmingham on Wednesday morning.

West Midlands Police said it is not treating the chief fire officer’s death as suspicious.

At the time of his death, Mr Brown was being investigated over claims on social media relating to his academic qualifications, according to reports.

We are devastated to report that our chief fire officer, Wayne Brown, was this morning found dead at his home address

Greg Brackenridge, chairman of West Midlands Fire and Rescue Authority, said the fire service’s thoughts are with his family.

“We are devastated to report that our chief fire officer, Wayne Brown, was this morning found dead at his home address,” he said.

“The death is not being treated as suspicious by West Midlands Police.

“All our thoughts and love are with his family, his friends and his colleagues.

“We ask everyone that his family and his colleagues are given time and space at this tragic time.”

The fire service had said in an earlier statement: “We are aware of claims referencing our chief fire officer and West Midlands Fire Service.

“Formal enquiries and processes, in line with our fire authority’s constitution, are now ongoing in relation to the matters raised. We will undertake this thoroughly and fairly.

“In the meantime, we will not be commenting further.”

We are very sad to hear of the passing of Wayne Brown

West Midlands Police said: “We can confirm that we attended an address in Birmingham this morning where the body of a man in his 50s was sadly found.

“The death is not being treated as suspicious and we are liaising with the local coroner.

“A formal identification will take place in due course.

“The man’s family is being supported by specialist officers and our thoughts are with them at this time.”

Separately, Mr Brown was involved in a court case in which a man was charged with harassment against him, the BBC reported.

According to the West Midlands Fire Service website, Mr Brown started his career as a firefighter in east London and spent 27 years in the London Fire Brigade, rising to assistant commissioner.

He joined West Midlands as deputy chief fire officer in November 2019 and was responsible for community risk reduction before becoming chief fire officer in January 2023.

The website said Mr Brown “has attended some of the UK’s most significant operational incidents, including London terrorist attacks and the devastating Grenfell Tower fire” and is “an ex-professional footballer with Uefa coaching qualifications”.

London Fire Brigade posted a tribute to Mr Brown from Fire Commissioner Andy Roe, saying: “I am deeply sorry to hear of the passing of Wayne Brown.

“Wayne was a valued and respected colleague in the brigade for over 20 years before joining West Midlands FRS. Our thoughts go out to Wayne’s family and friends at this difficult time.”

West Midlands Ambulance Service posted on X: “We are very sad to hear of the passing of Wayne Brown. Mr Brown was well regarded by everyone who had the pleasure of meeting and working with him. Our deepest condolences go to his family and colleagues at @WestMidsFire.”

Labour peer Baroness Twycross, London’s deputy mayor for fire and resilience, posted: “Absolutely devastating news – @WestMidsFire Chief Fire Officer, Wayne Brown, was hugely respected across the sector and much loved by his colleagues, including those who knew him from his many years’ service at @LondonFire.”

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