UK government in 'Russian roulette', say Grenfell survivors

UK government playing 'Russian roulette' with lives over fire inaction, say Grenfell Tower survivors
3 min read
14 June, 2021
The UK Government has been slammed for engaging in 'Russian roulette' by Grenfell Tower survivors as other similar fire hazards persist elsewhere. The four-year anniversary of the Grenfell fire tragedy is on Monday.
The four-year anniversary of the Grenfell fire tragedy is on Monday [Guy Smallman/Getty-file photo]

The UK government has been slammed by Grenfell Tower survivors for engaging in "Russian roulette" by neglecting to sort similar fire hazards affecting other apartments.

This impacts hundreds of thousands of properties, The Guardian reported.  

The four-year anniversary of the Grenfell fire tragedy took place on Monday, a blaze at a council block in West London that killed 72 residents in 2017.

Monday's anniversary is to be commemorated with churches in London being lit green to represent Grenfell with bells tolled to remember the dead.

The Grenfell Tower blaze started "in or around" a fridge-freezer before the aluminum composite material (ACM) cladding on the outside of the building caught fire.

Prior to the anniversary, Grenfell resident Ed Daffarn explained, in an apparent reference to the cladding: "This stuff still littering this country is a recipe for disaster and they can't say they haven't been warned.

"If they don't get this stuff off the buildings there will be another Grenfell."

This same resident forewarned in a blog of a possible fire at his tower block eight months before the 2017 disaster.

The post cautioned: "Only a catastrophic event will expose the ineptitude and incompetence of our landlord."

In May, three were admitted to hospital with dozens receiving care after breathing in smoke during a fire at a tower with ACM cladding in East London.

The blaze quickly crept up three levels through wooden balconies, The Guardian said.

These had not been removed due to a disagreement over whether the leaseholders or builder should foot the bill.

Data from the government indicates that 217 buildings with ACM cladding are yet to be totally repaired.

Meanwhile, 36 buildings have seen no repairs begin whatsoever, according to The Guardian.

Voices

As the fourth anniversary of the Grenfell tragedy is commemorated, disappointment at the government's response still pervades.

Grenfell United member Karim Mussilhy, nephew of victim Hesham Rahman, said: "I am incredibly angry we're still in this situation.

"The fact we are still having to campaign says it all. We are having to campaign for people to be safe in their homes and for better treatment for social housing tenants.

"Everything has to be fought for."

Furthermore, the inquiry will probably not be finished before 2022.

The police will not request a determination on how to move forward with potential charges, such as manslaughter, before its concluding report, The Guardian said.

At this point, just one man, 38, from Sussex, has been detained over allegations he perverted the course of justice, though he was later let out pending inquiries.

Nabil Choucair, family to six people who perished in the blaze, explained: "Four years on I fear that those responsible for the fire are going to get away with murder.

"It's a shame that the public inquiry cannot be stopped and the criminal investigation is completed and prosecutions put in place immediately."