‘We’re sleepwalking towards another Grenfell,’ warn firefighters

By Sharon Marris, news reporter

Firefighters have warned that we risk "sleepwalking into another catastrophic loss of life" two years after the fire at Grenfell Tower.

Seventy-two people died after flames engulfed the west London tower block in the early hours of 14 June 2017 in the worst fire Britain had seen for decades.

The tragedy became a focal point for people worried about the safety of social housing and there are still 328 high-rise residential public buildings yet to see the replacement of cladding similar to the unsafe type that helped spread the fire at Grenfell.

The Fire Brigades Union said that, along with safety standards for similar towers, they are concerned that funding cuts have left them unable to prepare for similar fires in future.

"In the time since the fire, the government's facile approach has utterly failed all those involved that night and the thousands of people who are at risk across the country.

"After two years, the Grenfell Tower Inquiry has delivered no answers and we are no closer to tackling any of the underlying causes of the tragedy.

"Countless homes are still wrapped in flammable materials, while warnings from tenants about risks to their safety go ignored. Fire and rescue services are, in the face of continued cuts, unable to prepare for a similar incident, with no national structures or coordination from government.

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"As things stand, we risk sleepwalking into another catastrophic loss of life. We demand urgent action from government to ensure that the events of Grenfell Tower can never happen again."

Image: Those affected by the fire say they are still waiting for justice

Even two years after the fire, many survivors have been unable to move on: more than a dozen families are still in temporary accommodation, 1,618 adults have been treated for mental health issues related to the tragedy, as have 398 children.

Despite almost 100 days of hearings during the first phase of the inquiry into the fire there has been no conclusion yet.

The first of the two stages ended in December and police said in March that no charges are likely to be brought in their criminal investigation until after the final report is produced.

No 10 Downing Street is lit in green for Grenfell fire's second anniversary
Image: No 10 Downing Street was also illuminated in green overnight

To mark the anniversary, there will be a memorial service at nearby St Helen's Church before white doves are released and a private gathering is held by the tower for survivors to lay wreaths.

Karim Mussilhy, whose uncle died in the fire, said the bereaved wanted to "be a presence to everyone else, show them that we are still here and we are still standinRead More – Source