The fire at the Grenfell tower in West London on 14th June is one of the biggest tragedies to hit the capital in recent years. While the death toll currently stands at 17, it’s expected to rise today as the Fire chief predicts that there are still many left in the tower.
London fire chief Dany Cotton told Sky News that they are now not expecting to find any other survivors. She said, “Tragically now we are not expecting to find anyone else alive. The severity and the heat of the fire would mean it is an absolute miracle for anyone to be left alive.”
And now in the aftermath of the blaze, people are looking to examine the cause, and why, as one fire fighter put it, ‘this sort of tragedy’ was allowed to happen in London in 2017. In response, the PM has ordered an urgent public inquiry.
So far the local council has been at the centre of the blame. Grenfell Action Group, a community group that encompassed residents from the tower, has, since the fire, put forward damning claims that the council repeatedly ignored their warnings about the safety of the 24-storey tower block in recent years, with residents previously warning a tragedy such as this was “inevitable”.
Posting on their website, the Grenfell Action Group wrote, “ALL OUR WARNINGS FELL ON DEAF EARS and we predicted that a catastrophe like this was inevitable and just a matter of time.”
They continued: “Below is a list of links to previous blogs we posted on this site trying to warn the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, who own this property, and the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation, who supposedly manage all social housing in RBKC on the Council’s behalf.”
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The eight article links in question, the earliest of which was published in 2013, go on to detail problems with the buildings structure, parking (and so access to the building), and faulty systems within the building.
Residents themselves have revealed that there were apparently
no working fire alarms, no sprinklers, and only one staircase to get out
of the building.
Other reports point to the building’s cladding – which is the coating on the structure of the building – as one of the main culprits of the horrific fire. It emerged over night that ministers were also actually warned about the safety of this material years ago – but those warnings were also ignored.
Reportedly, the Home Office were also handed reports of how unsafe many of Britain’s tower blocks were, but too, did nothing. Fire expert Mr Webb told the Guardian, “We discovered a widespread breach of safety, but were simply told nothing could be done because it would make too many people homeless.”
While the speculation about the cause continues, firefighters are attempting to salvage the bodies of people who didn’t escape from the fire. But London fire chief Dany Cotton told ITV that it’s going to be difficult, given the concerns over the stability of the building.
She said “Some of the internal structures are not regarded as safe at the moment, however the central core is, so my firefighters have been up to the top floor last night, they have done the initial brief search from the doorways.
“So although we’ve been up there we haven’t managed to do a comprehensive search and until we can make the building safe then I really don’t want to risk the safety of my firefighters at this moment in time.”
PM Theresa May has also recently been to visit the site of the tragedy.
Her visit comes after confirming that there will be a “proper investigation” into the cause of the fire. She added, “and if there are any lessons to be learnt they will be, and action will be taken”.