UK inquiry: cladding spread deadly Grenfell fire

Video Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on October 30, 2019 - Duration: 02:00s

UK inquiry: cladding spread deadly Grenfell fire

Combustible cladding encouraged and spread the fire in London's Grenfell Tower that killed 71 people, a public inquiry said on Wednesday (October 30).

Lucy Fielder reports.


UK inquiry: cladding spread deadly Grenfell fire

Combustible cladding on London's Grenfell Tower encouraged and spread a fire that killed 71 people.

Turning an ordinary kitchen fire into a blazing inferno, an official inquiry said on Wednesday.

The cladding was installed during a refurbishment completed in 2016 -- a year before Britain's worst fire since World War Two.

Grenfell was a social-housing block, home to a close-knit community of low-income residents.

But it's owned by one of London's richest local authorities.

So, the fire that shocked Britain raised disturbing questions about cost-cutting and how the block was allowed to become a tinderbox.

The report also blamed London fire-department chiefs for their fatal decision to stick to a long-held "stay put" policy.

Residents were told to stay in their homes rather than flee.

Hamid Jafari lived in Grenfell with his family and is haunted by the loss of his elderly father in the blaze.

SOUNDBITE (English) HAMID ALI JAFARI, GRENFELL SURVIVOR, SAYING: "So, my question to the government: who should we blame to?

I lost my father, I lost my life.

I pray every single day since the tower, you know, to die sooner." The inquiry found compelling evidence that the external walls did not comply with building regulations.

The combustible aluminium material used to clad the original concrete wall caught fire, quickly causing flames to leap up the outside of the building.

By morning, Grenfell was a charred ruin.

Wednesday's report did not apportion blame for the decision to use unsuitable cladding in the refurbishment.

But that's expected to be at the heart of the next phase of the probe, which should take about two years.

There's also a police investigation, but no criminal charges are expected until the public inquiry concludes.

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