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March 8, 2023


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Tributes made to Jonathan O’Neill OBE, Managing Director of the Fire Protection Association: 1963-2023

It is with great sadness that the Fire Protection Association (FPA) has announced the death of its Managing Director, Jonathan O’Neill OBE, who passed away overnight on the 7 March after several years of fighting illness.

JonONeill-Tribute-23The FPA commented:

“It is with great sadness that the FPA announces the death of its Managing Director, Jonathan O’Neill OBE, who died overnight after several years fighting illness.

“As Managing Director of the FPA for 24 years, Jon was one of the most influential figures in the fire safety industry, and his passing leaves a gap that will be difficult to fill. Never one to shy away from expressing his strongly held beliefs on the importance of fire safety, Jon’s massive contribution in this field was recognised with the award of an OBE in 2017.

“Our thoughts and condolences are with his wife, Karen and their three children, Sophie, Annabel, and Tristan, as well as with the many, many friends and colleagues who will mourn him.

“Following a conversation with Jon’s family, we hope to open a condolence book on the FPA website so that everyone who knew and respected him can leave tributes. We will also talk with his family as to how else we can celebrate Jon’s life with colleagues from across the wider industry.”

Tributes have been pouring in across the industry, with some collated below:

Howard Passey, the FPA’s Director of Operations said: “I am, as I’m sure many others will be, absolutely heartbroken and it goes without saying that this news deeply affects so many of us. Jon has fought an incredible battle against illness for so long, unflinchingly, and always had the best interests of the FPA and its staff in mind. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of one of the strongest, most well respected, and visionary leaders that the fire industry has ever had.”

Ian Moore, CEO of the Fire Industry Association: “Jon died overnight after several years of illness. The leader and inspiration behind the Fire Protection Association (FPA), he received his OBE for services to fire safety. You will read more about Jon’s impressive career in the days to come I know, but the most important message from all of us in the industry is our heartfelt condolences to his wife Karen, their children and those close to him. Jon was my friend and I will miss him.”

Dennis Davis, Executive Officer at the Fire Sector Federation sent a message to members, saying: “It is with the profound sadness I advise you of the passing of Jon O’Neill OBE. Jon died overnight after several years of illness. An inspirational leader in his determination to improve fire safety Jon joined the Fire Protection Association in 1999, was a founder of the Federation in 2012 and our Policy Director; most recently leading the initiative for a national fire strategy. He received his OBE for services to fire safety. Our deepest condolences are extended to his wife Karen, children and wider family.”

The Association of Specialist Fire Protection (ASFP), commented: “The ASFP is saddened to hear of the passing of the Fire Protection Association (FPA) MD Jon O’Neill. Jon was and continued to be one of the original advocates of improving fire safety standards within design, construction and occupation. He was single minded in creating an environment that endeavoured to lower the frequency of major fire events and associated casualty numbers. He continued to lobby those in positions of power and influence with a view to shining a light on the inadequacies that existed in our sector right up until very recently; for that, we know the construction industry and wider stakeholders are grateful. The ASFP team and members wish to pass on their condolences to Jon’s family, the FPA team and members, and all those that knew Jon in the many spheres he occupied. Your drive and dedication will be missed Jon.”

Gerry Dunphy, FIREX Event Director, added: “Everyone at FIREX, Safety & Health Expo and IFSEC Global are deeply saddened by the news that Jon has passed away, Over the years we’ve enjoyed a rich and highly rewarding partnership with the FPA team which was primarily driven by Jon, his energy, his core beliefs and the drive to improve life safety across the board. Jon would always be available to lend us his expertise and guidance across a multitude of areas including our show content, digital content, judging panels and editorials.

“On a personal note, I’ll miss the onsite banter with Jon, he had a particular dry sense of humour and despite his role, didn’t take anything too seriously. As soon as I figured that out, we would have some highly amusing conversations. Thank you Jon for all your help and assistance over the years, you have left a very strong legacy.”


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