‘Grenfell Tower fire was mass murder’, London survivors say


This video from London, England says about itself:

“We’ve been denied everything”: Daughter of Grenfell Tower victim – BBC Newsnight

12 July 2017

James O’Brien talks to Nazanin Aklani whose mother lived on the 18th floor of Grenfell Tower and is presumed to have died in the devastating fire.

From daily The Independent in Britain today:

Grenfell Tower fire: Angry residents shout ‘arrest someone‘ as they heckle council on month anniversary of tragedy

‘Everyday, 100 times a day, we burn and come back again, this is four weeks now, it’s gone on too long. Why are you not protecting us?’, survivor tells public meeting

Lucy Pasha-Robinson

Survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire clashed with Kensington council representatives and the senior investigating officer leading the criminal investigation into the disaster during a tense public meeting.

Residents of the local community gathered at St Clements Church in north Kensington to hear from the panel leading the Government’s “gold command” response to the tragedy.

But the meeting quickly descended into chaos as fury over the handling of the tragedy spilled over.

Residents berated council leader Elizabeth Campbell for hiding from survivors, accusing her of making no effort to seek out those who needed the most help.

Investigating officer Matt Bonner was also quizzed by residents who expressed their anger and frustration that no arrests had yet been made in connection with the tragedy.

Ms Campbell spent the first minutes of the meeting speaking of the “small steps” taken to clean up the surrounding area, including window cleaning.

But one survivor, sobbing, told her: “Why is this meeting even taking place? So we’re hear to talk about scaffolding, housekeeping and people cleaning windows but what about those people in that building who died?

“We were there and saw what happened, we can’t even describe the pain. those who we’ve lost, we can’t bring them back, but what about those of us who remain? You’re not doing anything for us.

“Everyday, 100 times a day, we burn and come back again, this is four weeks now, it’s gone on too long. Why are you not protecting us, we know you exist, we know councils exist, but we don’t exist, we don’t count for anything.

“We just want you to understand us, to protect us, to do something for us, that’s all we want from you.”

Ms Campbell, who admitted on Tuesday she had never set foot inside a high-rise council tower block, said it was “very difficult” to respond in the face of “such despair and such grieving”, but promised to meet the woman outside or tomorrow.

But another survivor interrupted the exchange to shout angrily: “You need to meet all of the survivors. it’s all of us, not just her, there’s more than one, there’s loads of us everywhere.

“You haven’t made any effort to meet us… we’ve had fraudsters find out where we are, how come you can’t find out where we are?”

Later Mr Bonner attempted to give residents an update on the criminal investigations into the tragedy, but said he was unable to share specific details about the case. He said 60 companies had been identified by police as being involved in the refurbishment of the tower in 2016.

“I cannot tell you about the case as it would put the investigation at risk,” he said as residents shouted “arrest someone”.

Cries of “this is state terrorism” and “mass murder” rang out in the church, as one resident urged people to remain calm, shouting from the front: “They are trying to paint us as savages so it’s in our best interests to stay calm.”

But one man said he was angry and deserved to be heard, shouting at the panel: “You murdered our friends, you murdered our neighbours.”

Mr Bonner called for the crowd to “listen”, telling them: “The test of my investigation will be whether it’s done properly not whether it’s done quickly.

“Unfortunately an investigation of this scale will not be quick but it will be thorough, it will get to the bottom of whatever happened and hold those to account, anyone that needs holding to account whether that be an individual or an organisation.

“We will do all of that but we won’t do that all tomorrow.”

Another resident, hands trembling and voice hoarse, screamed at him: “Listen, just listen, listen, listen, listen.

“Bereaved with tears in their eyes are asking these questions. We cannot sleep, because we dream of this again. Don’t you have humanity?”

The panel was made up of a number of senior figures involved in the Government-led response on the ground, including Hilary Patel, part of community engagement for the Grenfell Response Team, Met police chief superintendent Robyn Williams and Rachel Wright-Turner, director of tri-borough commissioning.

Also in attendance was Barry Quirk, chief executive of Lewisham council, who spoke multiple times on behalf of Ms Campbell.

Dr Deborah Turbitt, deputy director for health protection at Public Health England, also spoke to reassure concerned residents about air and water quality.

She admitted that asbestos had been released in the fire but that the temperature was such that it would have been dispersed. She said air quality was still being monitored by an independent body. …

Many residents expressed their scepticism over the death toll, with one survivor saying: “We all know at least 300 died.”

Most of the survivors of the inferno at Grenfell Tower remain homeless, almost one month after at least 80 died because of the criminal policies of successive Labour and Conservative governments, which put profit before safety: here.

Grenfell Tower fire: Government ‘too slow to reassure residents’ living in similar blocks, says Labour. ‘It is totally unacceptable that four weeks on ministers still don’t know and can’t say how many other tower blocks are unsafe’: here.

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15 thoughts on “‘Grenfell Tower fire was mass murder’, London survivors say

  1. Thursday 13th July 2017

    posted by Steve Sweeney in Britain

    Weybridge hospital burns as health centres fail latest fire safety checks

    NHS CUTS and privatisation could lead to a Grenfell-style blaze in British hospitals, campaigners warned yesterday after flammable material used in the destroyed tower block was also found at a Glasgow hospital.

    Kingspan Kooltherm K15 insulation boards were fitted to the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital super-complex which opened in 2015, health bosses said.
    These were of the same make as those used at Grenfell Tower, where a fire left 80 people confirmed dead so far and hundreds homeless.

    Brookfield Multiplex, which worked on the Glasgow hospital campus, also built Wembley Stadium.

    But NHS campaign groups along with the Fire Brigades Union (FBU) warned over fire safety in British hospitals, pointing to a staggering £5 billion maintenance backlog across the service.

    Their latest warning cames as emergency services worked on the heavily damaged Weybridge Health Centre, which caught fire on Wednesday night.
    There were no injuries in the fire, but dozens of nearby residents were evacuated.

    They said the discovery in Glasgow could be the tip of the iceberg and called for an end to the current system, where safety checks can be carried out by the builders themselves.

    Last year Skanska, a firm better known for its participation in construction industry blacklisting, was forced to carry out “remedial work” at a hospital built under new Labour’s disastrous private finance initiative (PFI) in Coventry following fears that fire protection measures were inadequate.

    Peterborough City Hospital, another controversial PFI build, was issued an official enforcement notice from the Cambridgeshire Fire Service in 2016 after it warned of “problems with how the hospital had been constructed relating to fire resistance of the internal compartments.”

    FBU national officer Dave Green said the union is “extremely concerned about the risks posed by poor fire safety in hospitals and schools built for profit, which seems to go in tandem with an astonishing lack of care both for those who use these facilities and for the firefighters who are called to the scene when things go wrong.

    “Buildings need to have clear and accessible fire exits and be made of quality materials that are resistant to fire — there can’t be shortcuts when it comes to safety.

    “The FBU would like to see the introduction of independent inspections of all public buildings before they are used. The current system where such checks can be carried out by the builders themselves is clearly unsafe.”

    Health Campaigns Together spokesman Dr John Lister said: “Before these latest checks even began, ministers and NHS chiefs should have known that even some of the newest hospitals, built under the costly private finance initiative, had already been flagged as fire hazards — while the older hospitals have run up a £5bn maintenance backlog that makes it most likely that they too have unresolved fire hazard issues.

    “The neglect of these vital public assets over the past seven years in the name of austerity and cost-saving is a national disgrace.”

    He said NHS trusts including those in Kent, Nottingham and Cambridge have been stung into urgent action with further problems identified at Walsall Manor Hospital, Peterborough City Hospital and the Royal Derby.

    “The NHS is already paying through the nose for these over-priced contracts, now we find they have not even delivered safe buildings.”

    A spokesman for NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde said: “The Queen Elizabeth University Hospital is one of the safest buildings in Britain in terms of fire engineering.

    “Multiplex, the main contractor for the hospital construction, has assured us that the Kingspan Kooltherm K15 insulation boards were properly installed to meet Scotland’s stringent building and fire safety regulations.

    A vigil was held last night in the shadow of Grenfell Tower, the first of several commemorations expected as the one-month anniversary approaches.

    http://morningstaronline.co.uk/a-12f4-Will-next-grenfell-be-in-the-NHS#.WWfmPFFpwdU

  2. Thursday 13th July 2017

    posted by Lamiat Sabin in Britain

    Councils ‘will have to prove they can’t afford improvements’

    COUNCILS will have to prove that they “can’t afford” new fire safety measures following the Grenfell disaster in order to receive funds, the government said yesterday.

    First Secretary of State Damian Green told the Commons that the local authority would be “the first port of call” to pay for any recommended fire safety measures such as sprinklers.

    He was responding to Labour’s Jack Dromey who pointed out that Birmingham, which has 231 tower blocks, has rightly decided it will retrofit sprinklers in all of those blocks.

    However the Birmingham Erdington MP highlighted this will cost the city council £31 million when it has already suffered £700m cuts to its budget.

    He asked: “Will the government unequivocally commit to funding all necessary safety measures, pending the outcome of the inquiry?”

    But Mr Green replied: “For clarity, if the fire service recommends something needs to be done for safety reasons, obviously they will go to the local authority and the local authority would be the first port of call to pay for that.

    “If the local authority can show it can’t afford it, then obviously central government will step in.”

    This prompted concerns from shadow housing minister John Healey, that there could be delays to vital safety work as councils “will hold back or potentially cut corners because they know they cannot afford to do the work that is required, either to remove or replace cladding or to make the insides fully fire-safety compliant.”

    The Commons debate on the Grenfell inquiry also asked how survivors and residents can have any faith in new Kensington and Chelsea council leader Elizabeth Campbell, who admitted she has never visited a tower block in the area.

    Mr Healey demanded the council use its £274m cash reserves to start building social housing or acquiring homes from the private sector in order to rehouse at least 100 surviving families that are still living in hotels.

    Only four households have been moved from hotels so far, he added, and this situation should force a “culture change” on the government which has been the first administration since WWII not to offer any funding for social housing.

    Andy Slaughter, who is MP of the neighbouring constituency Hammersmith, said survivors have been “unceremoniously dumped in budget hotels” in the area he represents, and that the government need to “get on with offering decent homes to those who have suffered enough trauma.”

    http://morningstaronline.co.uk/a-045a-Conditions-put-on-fire-safety-funding#.WWfm9lFpwdU

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