Grenfell tower

This week saw many voices, including from those affected and across the wider fire sector, mark the fifth anniversary of the deadly blaze.

 

Grenfell United:

Natasha Elcock, chairwoman of campaign group Grenfell United, said this week would be difficult for all of those affected.

"For many of us the events five years ago are still so raw in our minds and our losses remain heavy in our hearts," she said.

Grenfell United also tweeted, in reference to the silent walk on the evening of the anniversary: 72 beams of light reminding those in power we're here to stay. 18,000 people walked with us in solidarity this evening. Thank you for coming.

In a statement released on the anniversary itself, they said:

“Today, we remember the 72 beautiful souls lost that night. To ensure their memories live on.

“Those in power called them ‘nameless’. They were not nameless. They were treasured, loved and ours.

“Today is about honouring the 72 innocent men, women and children who lost their lives that night.

“We must never forget them. We must carry them with us forever, in our hearts.” 

The full statement can be read here.

 

Grenfell Tower Inquiry:

The fifth anniversary of the fire on 14 June provides an occasion to mourn with renewed intensity the tragedy in which so many people suffered a terrifying ordeal as well as losing not only their homes and possessions, but in many cases their dearest relatives and friends. The Panel, together with the whole of the Inquiry team, remains acutely conscious of the effect of the disaster on those who were directly involved and on the wider community in North Kensington.

We continue to offer them our deepest sympathy and we repeat our determination to ensure that the Inquiry uncovers the full story behind the causes of the tragedy and provides answers to the many questions that continue to trouble them.

 

London fire commissioner Andy Roe said he had found the strength and dignity of the Grenfell community "humbling and inspiring". He added: "I give my commitment that we will continue to listen and make changes to our service and work to drive improvements in the built environment to ensure such a tragedy can never happen again."

 

Mark Hardingham, NFCC Chair, commented: “It is hard to believe five years have passed since the devastating fire at Grenfell Tower.

Today I will be taking time to reflect on the tragedy and remember the 72 people who lost their lives, those who were injured, along with the community who continue to be impacted by the terrible events that evening.

The inquiry is ongoing and we continue to hear evidence which has been distressing for everyone involved. I hope that the findings will bring much-needed answers for families and friends.”

We continue to work with government and fire and rescue services to improve how they respond to fires and the building safety regime, and ensure people feel safe in their homes.”

 

Matt Wrack, Fire Brigades Union general secretary, said: “Despite the worst UK domestic fire in living memory the government is still failing to change direction and take fire safety and the fire service seriously. It is an insult to the people who lost their lives and it is an insult to the Grenfell community. 

Unfortunately none of this is a surprise. Central government let Grenfell be turned into a fire trap and has done nothing to fix the building safety crisis that has come to light since. But nonetheless, we should not take our eye off just how heartless you have to be to see an incident like Grenfell and then continue on a path like this. They are gambling with lives.

 

BAFE and FireQual joint statement:

Our belief [is] that a quality Fire Risk Assessment is crucial (performed by a competent person).

Whilst many requirements of the new legislation will not come into effect until April 2023, it is important to begin working as if this is in effect now. This is due to the length of projects that will crossover this date, so it is in your best interest to, if not already, introduce a new regime regarding safe working and competency expectations behind this.

Now more than ever before is the right time to define competency and mandate a suitable level acceptable to work with life safety systems and services. We see demanding UKAS accredited Third-Party Certification as a clear and reasonably practicable action that would assist in putting an end to the unwelcome unregulated industry.

 

Disability Rights UK, alongside Clad Dag (a leaseholder Disability Action Group) and Grenfell United, have launched a petition calling on the Government to implement the Grenfell inquiry recommendation on Personal Emergency Evacuation Plans (PEEPs).

You can sign the petition here.

 

Bereaved and survivors:

Hanan Wahabi survived the blaze but lost several family members, and has had to rebuild her life.

"We smile, we laugh, we joke, but you can see the cracks," she said.

We haven't healed.

Raheleh Afraseibi, who lost her mother Fatemeh and aunt Sakineh in the fire, said the "catastrophe is never-ending for us".

"We don't want them to just say 'Never forget', we want it cemented in some way.