Wayne Brown, the chief officer of West Midlands Fire Service, has been found dead at his home.

Brown was discovered early on Wednesday but his death was not being treated as suspicious by police, Greg Brackenridge, chair of West Midlands Fire and Rescue Authority, confirmed.

Brown was being investigated over claims made on social media about his qualifications for the role.

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

“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 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.”

West Midlands Fire Service Chief Wayne BrownWMFS
West Midlands Fire Service Chief Wayne Brown was found dead at his home, confirmed colleagues

Career

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.

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.

During his career, Brown attended some of the country’s most high-profile disasters including Grenfell Tower fire and the 2005 London terrorist attacks.

Investigation

Allegations about Brown had been reported earlier 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.”

Separately, Brown was also involved in a court case, in which a man has been charged with harassment against him.

Benjamin Walker was due to appear at Birmingham Magistrates Court on Tuesday but the case was vacated, pending a pre-trial hearing due to take place in February.

The Fire Brigades Union said it had been aware of the allegations made against Brown.

West Midlands Fire and Rescue Authority announced Mr Brown's death on Wednesday eveningGoogle Maps
West Midlands Fire and Rescue Authority announced Mr Brown’s death on Wednesday evening

“Most tragic news”

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.”

Ben Adams, Staffordshire’s police, fire and crime commissioner, said news of the chief’s death was “the most tragic news”.

“Terrible loss of a good man,” he wrote on X, formerly Twitter.


In the UK and Ireland, Samaritans can be contacted on freephone 116 123, or email [email protected] or [email protected]. Website: Samaritans.org

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