The head of Greater Manchester Fire Service has been cleared of neglect after the death of a firefighter who tried to save a drowning teenager.
Paul Metcalf, 40, drowned in September 1999 as he tried to rescue 15-year-old Reyaz Ali from a small lake in Holcombe Brook, Bury.
His lifeline became snagged underwater as he tried to pull the boy to safety from the mill lodge. Reyaz, a student at the nearby Darul Uloom Islamic College, also died. The teenager had been with friends when he swung on a rope into the water and got into difficulties.
Mr Metcalf’s family made an official complaint against Barry Dixon, Greater Manchester’s Chief Fire Officer, alleging he was neglectful in failing to prevent the firefighter’s death.
A six-month inquiry by Ken Knight, Commissioner of the London Fire Service, has cleared Barry Dixon of any neglect in the death of Mr Metcalf from Ramsbottom. The conclusion has been described as a “whitewash” by the solicitors representing the Metcalf family. A separate prosecution by the Health and Safety Executive against Greater Manchester Fire Service is due in court later this year.