Grenfell Tower fire

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Event.png Grenfell Tower fire 
Grenfell Tower.jpg
Date 14 June 2017
Location Grenfell Tower,  Lancaster West Estate,  North Kensington,  London
Deaths 70+
Injured (non-fatal) 15

The Grenfell Tower fire occurred on 14 June 2017, at the 24-storey Grenfell Tower, a block of public housing flats in North Kensington, London, killing at least seventy people.

Criticised for not meeting victims and local residents at the scene, Prime Minister Theresa May was quick to announce there would be a judge-led public inquiry into the tragedy.[1]

On 29 June 2017, Theresa May appointed retired Court of Appeal judge Sir Martin Moore-Bick to lead the Grenfell Tower fire inquiry.[2]

In July 2017, George Monbiot wrote a Guardian article entitled "The Grenfell inquiry will be a stitch-up. Here's why" and followed this with a video claiming the Grenfell Tower fire is a case of "mass murder".[3]

In August 2017, Jeremy Corbyn wrote urging the Prime Minister to rethink the terms of reference of the Grenfell Tower fire inquiry.[4]

Started about 1am

The fire started shortly before 1am local time. Hundreds of firefighters and 45 fire engines were involved in efforts to control the fire. Firefighters were trying to control pockets of fire on the higher floors after most of the rest of the building had been gutted. Residents of surrounding buildings were evacuated out of concerns that the tower could collapse, though the building was later determined to still be structurally sound.[5]

Death toll

Death toll: who is doing the maths?

An exact figure for residents is unknown but it is a 24-storey tower block and there are thought to be around 24 people per floor. This would leave the total at around 600 (576) although authorities have no idea how many people were in their homes during the fire.

Kensington and Chelsea Council leader Nick Paget-Brown suggested:

"Several hundred would have been in there. It’s a question of establishing how many people were in there at the time of the fire.[6]

Many were killed, and many residents remain missing.[7] Sixty-five were rescued by firefighters. Seventy-four people were confirmed to be in five hospitals across London, twenty of whom were in a critical condition. Ongoing fires on the upper floors and fears of structural collapse hindered the search and recovery effort.[8]

Cause

The cause of the fire was a Hotpoint fridge-freezer fire in Flat 16 on the fourth floor. The fridge was by the kitchen window and before the fire was put out it spread to the combustible window frames and the combustible cladding attached to the exterior of the flat. Residents had reported 'power surges' in the building which may have caused the fridge-freezer to explode. The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan criticised the safety instructions telling people to stay in their flats in particular.[9] Since 2013 the residents' organisation, Grenfell Action Group, had repeatedly expressed concern about fire safety and had warned in November 2016 that only a catastrophic fire would finally force the block's management to treat fire precautions and maintenance of fire-related systems to a proper standard.[10]

Celebrity chef Jamie Oliver offered free food and shelter to victims of the fire at his nearby restaurant in Frank Lowy's Westfield Shopping Centre in White City.[11]  

Event

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EventDate
Grenfell Tower fire14 June 2017
 

Related Document

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TitleTypePublication dateAuthor(s)Description
Here’s why the Grenfell inquiry will be a stitch-upArticle5 July 2017George MonbiotOn 14 June 2017, while the Grenfell Tower was smouldering, a meeting of the Red Tape Initiative panel decided that "on this occasion" they would not recommend the removal of the EU Construction Products Regulation, which seeks to protect people from fire, and restricts the kind of cladding that can be used.


References

  1. "What is an inquest, how is it different to a public inquiry, and why are Grenfell fire victims calling for one?"
  2. "Grenfell Tower: Retired judge to lead disaster inquiry"
  3. "Monbiot on Grenfell: This is Mass Murder"
  4. "Jeremy Corbyn urges PM to rethink terms of Grenfell fire inquiry"
  5. "London fire: Six killed as Grenfell Tower engulfed". BBC News. 14 June 2017. Retrieved 14 June 2017. 
  6. "Where is Grenfell Tower and how many people live there?"
  7. Masters, James; Griffiths, James; Muhammad, Darwish (15 June 2017). "London fire: Mourning, anger and questions over lives lost in inferno". CNN. 
  8. Witte, Griff (14 June 2017). "London high-rise fire leaves multiple people dead, dozens injured and others missing". The Washington Post. Retrieved 14 June 2017. 
  9. Pasha-Robinson, Lucy (14 June 2017). "Residents inside 24-storey London flats on fire were told to stay inside in case of blaze". The Independent. Retrieved 14 June 2017. 
  10. Wahlquist, Calla (14 June 2017). "Fire safety concerns raised by Grenfell Tower residents in 2012". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 June 2017. 
  11. "Jamie Oliver offers Grenfell Tower fire victims free food and shelter at his Westfield restaurant"