Jonathan O’Neill OBE

Wednesday 8th March 2023
BAFE and FireQual Joint Statement

Both BAFE and FireQual are deeply saddened by the death of Jonathan O’Neill OBE, Managing Director of the Fire Protection Association (FPA).

Jonathan has been such an influential person for the advancement of competence within the fire protection sector. His career and dedication are testament to his character, with a level of integrity that is hard to match. In 2017, as many will already be aware, Jonathan was awarded an OBE for services to fire safety. Whilst extremely prestigious, this only scratches the surface concerning his dedication and work undertaken to improve fire safety issues.

With Jonathan being the longest serving director of BAFE, having joined the Board in 2001, his death is a huge loss for BAFE and the fire sector overall. His input over the last 22 years has been invaluable to the development of BAFE and our purpose. Jonathan was a huge supporter of third-party certification, and it was abundantly clear of his demands post-Grenfell that this should be made mandatory. This passion is just one reason why Jonathan was held in such high regard by his peers and the industry.

Justin Maltby-Smith, Group Managing Director of BAFE, commented, “Jonathan was the longest serving director of BAFE and one of the most driven and passionate people I have ever met. His influence and expertise relating to fire safety was unquestionable and his tireless work certainly led to the UK becoming a safer place. I am personally grateful to Jonathan for all of the support and advice that he has given to me, and for his continued support of third-party certification and BAFE. The world is an emptier place today from this loss. I send my deepest condolences to his wife and family at this incredibly sad time.”

Douglas Barnett, Chair of BAFE, added, “Jon was one of the most passionate and influential figures in the fire safety sectors and never flinched when challenging for what he believed was correct to deliver safer buildings or communities. Jon had close engagement and influence with insurers throughout his career, personally mentoring and influencing my development, whilst working closely together for over 20 years across multiple challenges but more importantly successes.”

Lewis Ramsay, Chair of FireQual, stated, “I cannot begin to express my sadness at Jon’s passing. Jon was a close friend and colleague and someone who had a strong influence on my own career over the many years that I knew him. Jon’s wisdom, counsel and fierce passion was an inspiration to us all and whilst we mourn the man, we also grieve the huge and sudden loss to the fire sector. If a measure of success is the number of lives we save then, I cannot begin to count how fortunate we were to have had Jon working so hard to protect citizens across the UK and beyond its shores. The Fire Sector has lost one of its greatest ambassadors and we will be forever in his debt.”

Our condolences go out to Jonathan’s wife, family, friends, and to all at the FPA. He will be greatly missed by all.