Wayne Brown: West Midlands Fire Service chief fire officer found dead at home

The chief fire officer at West Midlands Fire Service has been found dead at his home after claims made about his qualifications for the role were made on social media.

In a statement on Wednesday, Greg Brackenridge, chairman of West Midlands Fire and Rescue Authority, said: "We are devastated to report that our chief fire officer, Wayne Brown, was this morning found dead at his home address.

"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."

West Midlands Police said: "We can confirm that we attended an address in Birmingham 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."

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

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

Allegations about Mr Brown had been reported this week, and the fire service had begun an investigation.

An earlier statement from the service said: "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."

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'Valued and respected colleague'

Leading tributes to the chief fire officer, London Fire Commissioner Andy Roe said he was "deeply sorry" to hear of Mr Brown's death.

"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," he said in a post shared by the London Fire Brigade on X.

Fiona Twycross, London's deputy mayor for fire and resilience, added that Mr Brown was "hugely respected across the sector and much loved by his colleagues".

"Absolutely devastating news," she said in a statement on social media.

A number of other fire and rescue services across the UK also shared condolences.

South Yorkshire Fire Service said: "Everyone at South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue shares our deepest condolences with the family, friends and colleagues of West Midlands Chief Fire Officer Wayne Brown following the incredibly sad news of his death today."

While the service in Greater Manchester said: "On behalf of everyone at Greater Manchester Fire & Rescue Service, we share our deepest condolences with the family, friends and colleagues of West Midlands Chief Fire Officer Wayne Brown following the very sad news of his death today."