Remembering The Grenfell Tower Tragedy: One Year On

One year ago today, the world awoke to news of disaster on a huge scale.

In the early hours of Wednesday 14 June 2017 a fire broke out on the 4th floor of Grenfell Tower, a 24-storey tower block in the Royal London borough of Kensington and Chelsea.

Despite the efforts of hundreds of members of the emergency services, the fire consumed the whole building. By the time it had finished 70 people were dead. A further two died in the months that followed.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

Among those to lose their lives were many children and elderly people. The youngest of those killed was an unborn baby, Logan Gomes.

The disaster also left 70 people injured, and hundreds more without a home.

It was found that a faulty refrigerator has started the fire, but it was also then discovered that the building's exterior cladding had been said to be unsafe but was used anyway. This cladding allowed the outside of the building to catch fire and the blaze to spread.

Since the tragedy, the hunt for justice has begun, as well as investigations into the cladding of other similar buildings - many others have been found to be unsafe.

As well as the search for justice for those killed, injured, and displaced, there is also a duty of care owed to the people who lost loved ones and witnessed the tragedy.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

An inquiry into the horrific events began in May with moving words from the loved ones of some of the dead. The Metropolitan Police are also investigating any criminal responsibility with regards to the fire. They could even convict on charges of corporate or individual manslaughter.

Understandably, in the immediate aftermath of the tragedy, the public were angry. Kensington and Chelsea is the richest council in the UK and has some of the wealthiest residents in the world. Despite this, scores of people - mostly socially housed - died in their homes.

That anger has been turned into positive energy, however. The Justice 4 Grenfell organisation has since been established and is leading the fight for the voices of those lost to be heard.

Yvette Williams, a Justice 4 Grenfell coordinator, told LADbible: "For us, as a campaign, [the anniversary] is about standing with our community. It's more about remembering and honouring the victims who are no longer with us.

"It is about the lack of permanent housing, but also getting to the truth about what happened at Grenfell and trying to bring about change so that nothing like that ever happens again.

"There are lots of things that need to be changed, not just legislation, or quality, and materials and that kind of stuff, but also practise and behaviour, because those are the things that led people to make the choices of poor cladding and that kind of stuff in the first place.

"We're in one of the richest boroughs in Britain. They were sitting down on £274m in their reserves when Grenfell Tower burned down. If that doesn't tell us a lot about what's wrong with our society then I don't know what will."

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

However, the events marking the anniversary are not about politics or anger, but remembrance and respect for those who lost their lives.

Williams continued: "For us, the campaign is about keeping it in the public consciousness, but it's also about talking out on the things that need to change and talking out about things that are wrong."

"Keep the campaign visible and bring about change in our society to make sure that things like Grenfell never happen again, make sure that people have homes to live in - which is a basic human right.

"[The anniversary] is about prioritising and honouring those 72, they are not here to talk so the living have to speak for them."

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

At 6pm tomorrow, a 24-hour vigil for those who died will commence. At 01:30am on Thursday the names of the victims will be read aloud at the nearby St Clement's Church. The church has also opened a memorial garden.

A nationwide minute of silence will be held at 12:00pm on Thursday.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

The inquiry has been put on pause this week so that those involved can have sufficient time to mark their respects and to commemorate those who died.

Hopefully they can get the justice and closure they deserve once it reopens.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Tom Wood

Tom Wood is a freelance journalist and LADbible contributor. He graduated from University of London with a BA in Philosophy before studying for a Masters in Journalism at the University of Salford. He has previously written for the M.E.N Group as well as working for several top professional sports clubs. Contact him on [email protected]

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