Grenfell Tower fire: Relatives call for day of remembranceon November 7, 2022 at 6:28 pm

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In closing speeches at an inquiry, the deadly fire was described as a “disaster made in Britain”.

Grenfell signImage source, Getty Images

Relatives of the 72 people who died in the fire at the Grenfell Tower in London are calling for a national day of remembrance, an inquiry has heard.

A lawyer said on their behalf they also want an apology from companies found to be at fault over the 2017 disaster.

The external cladding of the building caught alight, allowing the fire to spread rapidly.

In the inquiry’s closing speeches, Danny Friedman KC branded the building industry as “reckless and predatory”.

Stephanie Barwise KC put the cladding manufacturer and an engineering firm at the top of a list of those at fault.

Michael Mansfield KC said the fire was “criminal in the colloquial sense, and in the legal sense”.

The Metropolitan Police has been leading the criminal investigation but a decision on charges may not come until 2025.

Protest

Image source, PA Media

Mr Friedman said the tragedy stemmed from “the prioritisation of what things cost rather than what they were worth”.

Speaking of the residents of the tower, he added: “We did not imagine that their home could be our home. We do not appreciate the power imbalances they endure.

“We did not live by the premise that in all of life’s profit and loss, we are ultimately neighbours. The evidence painstakingly assembled and heard by this inquiry, tells us that we must.”

The inquiry has examined the flawed refurbishment of the building, the year before the fire.

Few of the dozens of companies and council bodies involved have unreservedly accepted responsibility over their actions.

Grenfell Tower

Image source, Getty Images

The inquiry has heard there was a “merry-go-round of blame”.

Ms Barwise attempted to place those involved in a “ranking” of responsibility.

Three companies topped the list: Arconic, the international firm whose French arm manufactured cladding panels, sold a “highly volatile” material, using safety documents which gave a misleading impression of the likely risk.

Studio E, the London architects’ firm which designed the refurbished tower, never considered the requirements of safety regulations that state the materials used should not spread fire.

And Exova, a “top-tier” fire engineering firm, created a “false sense of security” by stating in early expert reports during the refurbishment that the flammable cladding used for the work would have “no adverse effect”.

Ms Barwise said two other companies had a lesser impact: Harley Facades, which he said had been “untroubled by compliance”, and the construction firm Rydon, which chose the tower’s flammable window frames.

Mr Mansfield said: “Grenfell Tower is the epitome of a complete collapse of a system, not just a construction system but the system of governance.

“This inquiry should end on a positive note, in which the families can stand alongside their tower and say they’ve achieved something for those generations.”

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