On June 14, 2017, the 24-storey Grenfell Tower blazes like a torch in west London, with fire from a faulty freezer spreading at high speed through the cladding on the facade. The fire killed 72 people, including a stillborn baby.
Five years later, four housing ministers and a lengthy and costly public inquiry later, three evacuated families are still awaiting a permanent rehousing solution while security changes struggle to be implemented.
To mark the anniversary, Grenfell United, the charity for the victims of the fire, is organizing a multi-faith service in memory of the victims on Tuesday as well as a white march at the base of the tower in London’s North Kensington where green hearts – which have become the symbol of Grenfell – were displayed in the streets.
Tiago Alves, 25, will come to meditate there. He, his parents and his sister escaped death on June 14, 2017 and want to continue to “speak up to make sure something like this never happens again.”
“The only way to bring justice (to the victims) is to continue our fight, to continue our campaign and to continue to be the best versions of ourselves for there to be change – whether through justice, through public inquiry or by legislative changes,” he said, quoted by the PA agency.
He now fears that what was the UK’s worst residential fire since World War II will be followed by even more deadly tragedies.
– Learn from mistakes –
Five years after the tragedy, 640,000 Britons still live in buildings covered with a coating of the same type as that of the Grenfell Tower, according to figures from The Times newspaper.
The government also confirmed last month that it was still advising residents of a burning building to wait for help before evacuating, going against the recommendations of the public inquiry and angering survivors. of the fire.
The authorities “do not learn from their mistakes”, believes Mr. Alves. “Why do we have to fight so hard for this?”
“Our thoughts and prayers are with those who have lost loved ones, the survivors and the community of Grenfell. But half a decade later, we should be able to offer more than thoughts and prayers. We should be able to provide the answers, the justice and the changes to which the residents of Grenfell are entitled,” London Mayor Sadiq Khan wrote in an op-ed published in The Guardian on Sunday.
If the public inquiry revealed how “profits had been prioritized over people’s safety”, “no one has really been held responsible for the moment” according to him and “the changes so necessary to avoid a similar tragedy put too many time to happen”.
According to figures from the Guardian, the public inquiry started four years ago and which will not end before 2023 could cost more than 250 million pounds (291 million euros).