On the 14th June 2017, just before 1am, a fire broke out in the kitchen of a 4th floor flat at the 24-storey Grenfell Tower block in North Kensington. 72 people died, countless others were injured and all of the residents lost their homes. Unbelievably, it’s one year on and yet still no one has been arrested or held accountable. The public inquiry is now underway but it could last until 2020. Will we ever hear the truth?
As the saying goes, there is no smoke without fire and if something is avoidable, then someone must be to blame. With this list of alleged safety failures to consider, bringing those responsible to justice will be no mean feat as there was clearly more than one person holding that match.
- There were no fire sprinklers in Grenfell Tower.
- The building just had one entrance and exit for 129 flats housing up to 600 people.
- The smoke extraction system was unserviceable.
- The Hotpoint fridge freezer FF175B believed to have been at the heart of the fire has been deemed of low risk and safe to use.
- Access to site was restricted for emergency vehicles and there was no wet rising main to help firefighters tackle the blaze.
- Previous reports suggested that fire extinguishers had not been tested in months.
- Fire advice for when a fire broke out in another flat was to stay put but this proved fatal for those who followed it.
- During the renovation of 2016, Rydon Construction Ltd undercut rivals, used a cheaper combustible material for the cladding, fitted inadequate cavity barriers and failures in the construction of the building meant there were gaps around window frames, which helped further fan the fire.
- More than 210 households displaced by the fire are still in temporary accommodation
One of the above alone is disgraceful, but compounded together as one big truth then this is a disaster that is nothing less than a series of epic failures resulting in a tragedy which should never have been allowed to happen. If you are contracted to do a job or provide a service, then do it properly, with the correct materials and appropriate due care and attention and above all, make sure safety is at the top of the agenda. Cutting corners costs lives and it’s about time companies realised this and made essential changes to their practices to avoid anything like the heartbreaking events at Grenfell Tower ever happening again.
In the same vein, if you are elected to serve your community, then you need to be prepared to listen and act in the best interests of everyone in that community, no matter who they are or where they live. The frequent legitimate concerns and warnings about the safety of the tower block by the Grenfell Action Group were repeatedly dismissed by the KCMTO. This was completely inexcusable behaviour from those who were responsible with the welfare of so many and who let them down so badly in the very worst way possible.
The CEO of Rydon Construction Ltd, Robert Bond, has claimed that the renovation met “all required building regulations, as well as fire regulations and health and safety standards” and that the architect, local council and building control all approved the work. The problem is that with so many different parties involved, finding and bringing those responsible to justice could be nigh on impossible with the likelihood that all will pass the buck as far and as much as they can.
However, for the sake of the people who needlessly lost their lives and the families whose lives have been destroyed forever as a result, it’s time to stop defending the indefensible, challenge all these parties, fight for justice and finally hear the truth.