June 14th 2022 marks half a decade since the Grenfell Tower fire which resulted in the loss of 72 people.
The fire was caused by an electrical fault in a refrigerator but the fire spread quickly due to the flammable exterior cladding on the building comprised of polyurethane polymers.
A 24-storey tower of flats in North Kensington, West London, caught fire in the early hours of the morning.
Behailu Kebede was awoken from his sleep by the blaring of a smoke alarm after his Hotpoint fridge had set on fire.
The fire brigade logged a call from Mr Kebede at around 00:54AM on June 14th 2017. Four fire engines were sent to the scene and arrived 5 minutes later at 00:59AM.
the KCTMO (Kensington & Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation) instructed the residents to stay in their flat in case of a fire.
"Our longstanding 'stay put' policy stays in force until you are told otherwise" assuring them that the front doors for each unit could survive a fire for up to 30 minutes.
Image credit: Getty images
A large number of residents managed to escape the blaze with 74 sustaining non-fatal injuries but unfortunately 70 did die on the scene and two later died in hospital resulting in a death toll of 72. The youngest victim was 6-months-old Leena Belkadi.
She was found dead in her mother Farah Hamdan's arms in a stairwell between the 19th and 20th floors.
A multi faith memorial service was held at Westminster Abbey for all the victims. High profile people such as grime artist Stormzy as well as Prince William and Kate Middleton the Duchess of Cambridge attended the memorial.
A 72 second silence was observed at 2PM to commemorate and give condolences to the 72 lives lost.
Since the tragedy, the event has been heavily investigated as 15.5 tonnes of debris was searched through requiring the skills of forensic anthropologists, archaeologists and forensic dentists and odontologists.
As well as 31 million documents and 2,500 physical exhibits.
In addition, the Met Police have looked into criminal offences such as manslaughter, corporate manslaughter, misconduct in public office and breaches of fire safety regulations within the tower block.
image credit: Grenfell Inquiry
The Grenfell Tower enquiry was set up by the Prime Minister at the time Theresa May and on the day before the memorial the inquiry’s panel published the following statement.
“The fifth anniversary of the fire on 14 June provides an occasion to mourn with renewed intensity the tragedy in which so many people suffered a terrifying ordeal as well as losing not only their homes and possessions but, in many cases, their dearest relatives and friends."
“The Panel, together with the whole of the Inquiry team, remains acutely conscious of the effect of the disaster on those who were directly involved and on the wider community in North Kensington."
“We continue to offer them our deepest sympathy and we repeat our determination to ensure that the Inquiry uncovers the full story behind the causes of the tragedy and provides answers to the many questions that continue to trouble them.”