Grenfell Tower Fire Fifth Anniversary: ‘People Want Justice and Answers’, Community Member Says
On Tuesday, a memorial service took place at Westminster Abbey to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the Grenfell Tower fire in London, which claimed the lives of at least 72 people and injured over 70 more.
Five years on, the survivors of the deadly Grenfell Tower blaze in the UK capital have yet to be duly supported by local authorities, Alessandro Kellier, a prominent member of the Grenfell community, has said.
In an interview with the UK news website The Voice on Tuesday, Kellier, who has lived opposite the Grenfell Tower for 32 years , stressed that he “does know that people want justice and answers”.
“They want to see someone take responsibility for all those people we lost in Grenfell and all the people who have been impacted by it all. The people in the community want to see a sense of justice now and that would help put things to rest and help the healing process,” he said.
Kellier also said that he would like to see those who are responsible for the failings, which resulted in the fire, “held accountable”.
7 November 2018, 15:28 GMT
According to him, “People still hold it dear to their heart, they haven’t forgotten what happened. We have moved on, but there is still a lot to be done by those who hold the power.”
He made it clear that the Grenfell community do not need any more “empty promises”, and that it wants real action and sustained reforms in the the social housing sector that put the concerns of residents first.
“I would like to see some sort of legacy in honour of Grenfell that sorts out the poor housing conditions across the country once and for all, because it is really bad, especially for those coming from a social housing background. We are still seeing tower block fires across London and it’s quite a traumatic and triggering experience for those in the area,” Kellier underscored.
He described housing as “a basic and fundamental need”, arguing that there is no “sufficient housing in London” and he “would like to see changes in policy across the board”.
Kellier spoke as The Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend David Hoyle, said during the memorial service to mark the fifth anniversary of the Grenfell fire that the loss was “still vivid and sharp”. The service was attended by former Prime Minister Theresa May, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and Housing Secretary Michael Gove, among others.
“We gather as those who look for justice and a renewed commitment to securing safety in our homes, safety in times of fire. Grateful for the support of the communities and individuals that have sustained the bereaved and the survivors over the last five years, we meet in faith and hope looking to a better, safer, surer future,” Hoyle underlined.
The statement came as a spokesperson for the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities said that “the Grenfell Tower tragedy must never be allowed to happen again and our thoughts are with the bereaved families, survivors and residents.
The spokesperson added that the department is taking steps to ensure the buildings are safer.
With a criminal investigation into the Grenfell Tower fire under way, the Met Police say no prosecutions will be brought until the public inquiry is finished and its findings are released. Thus far, fewer than half of the recommendations from the inquiry have been signed into law, according to the Home Office.
14 June 2019, 06:07 GMT
Earlier in the month, the government banned the specific type of cladding that allowed the fire to spread so rapidly. The ban previously applied only to buildings higher than 11 metres (36 feet). Under the ban, metal composite panels with an unmodified polyethylene core now cannot be used on any building of any height.
On 14 June 2017, a massive fire, which was triggered by a malfunctioning fridge-freezer on the fourth floor, broke out in the 67-metre (220-foot) Grenfell Tower, a 24-storey residential building in west London, killing 72 and injuring more than 70 others. A total of 151 homes were destroyed in the tower and surrounding area, with people from surrounding buildings evacuated due to concerns that the tower might collapse.
Earlier findings of an investigation into the blaze found many violations of fire safety standards, such as flammable materials being used in the cladding.
Following the incident, the UK government launched a series of combustibility tests of high-rise residential buildings across the country, which revealed that 262 buildings used the same or similar cladding.