It’s going to be lively at the Charleston City Council meeting tonight as firefighters, at least two city councilmen, and a rumored assortment of the families of those lost in the Sofa Super Store fire on June 18 rally for the city to go ahead and release the independent report on what happened that day.

The mayor sent out a (very) late message to the press Friday evening, informing the public that he would be withholding the findings of the independent group until two federal reports (one of which could be released in three to four months) before he releases the city sanctioned study.

The local and national firefighters unions are enraged at the idea the city is withholding information that could impact firefighter safety. For their part, the members of the independent review team say they’re work is informed by that of other agencies and they stand behind it, ready to hand it out.

The mayor has a reasonable argument — that he wants the report to be complete. But he told Channel 5 news yesterday that he hadn’t even read the report (which almost seems more troubling to me). What will hang over the findings when they do come out is whether their was actionable information that could have improved fire safety and whether it was prudent to put off releasing that information.

The insinuation made by this delay — that the fire review team’s report is somehow substandard or lacking — also does the city no favors and could lead to questions about whether the city should have requested its own report at all if the findings were destined to be reduced to a perfunctory second opinion.

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