Victims remembered as Grenfell inquiry begins

Taken too soon: The Grenfell Tower fire claimed the lives of 18 children.

What would “Justice4Grenfell” look like? The inquiry into the fire started yesterday with bereaved families remembering the 72 victims. Some desire punishment. Everyone wants the truth.

At around 4am on June14, 2017, Marcio Gomes, his wife Andreia and their two daughters managed to escape the burning tower that had been their home.

Andreia was taken to hospital. She was pregnant. She survived, but their son was stillborn later that morning. Logan Gomes was the youngest victim of the Grenfell Tower fire.

With this tragic story, the inquiry into one of post-war Britain’s worst disasters began yesterday. Families of six victims remembered their loved ones.

In total, 72 people died after a fridge-freezer caught fire in the tower block. It was then accelerated by the building’s exterior cladding.

The inquiry has been set up to determine three things: what happened, why, and what can be done to stop something similar happening again.

The fire came to symbolise many of the ills of modern Britain. Kensington, the borough in which the tower is located, is one of the richest and one of the least equal areas in Britain.

Labour MP David Lammy, who grew up in a tower block, said that arrests should be made. Nearly a year on, many people have still not been permanently rehoused.

They are desperate for justice. But what would justice be?

Towering shame

This needs to end in convictions, say many. The failure to convict those responsible for the Hillsborough disaster of 1989 caused a resentment that may never go away. This disaster was clearly a result of a number of avoidable mistakes. People need to be punished. Only then will justice be served.

That would not bring about the systemic changes that are so badly needed, reply others. This disaster was not the result of evil scheming, but a consequence of years of neglect, cost-cutting and indifference to the poorest people in society. The inquiry should find out the truth, and then push for change.

You Decide

  1. Should people go to prison for their role in the Grenfell Tower fire?

Activities

  1. List three other moments from history that you consider “turning points”.

Some People Say...

“Unintelligent people always look for a scapegoat.”

Ernest Bevin

What do you think?

Q & A

What do we know?
The Grenfell Tower inquiry started yesterday. A retired Court of Appeal judge, Sir Martin Moore-Bick, was chosen by Theresa May to lead the public inquiry in June 2017.
What do we not know?
Who is most at fault for the fire. Many have been blamed for the tragedy so far, from Theresa May to Kensington and Chelsea Council to architects practicing in the 1970s have been blamed.

Word Watch

Loved ones
Five other people were remembered yesterday. They were Khadija Saye, Mary Mendy, Denis Murphy, Joseph Daniels and Mohamed Neda.
Cladding
A covering or coating that is wrapped around the outside of a building to improve its appearance, performance and energy efficiency.
Still not been permanently rehoused
The leader of Kensington and Chelsea Council said she hopes to find permanent homes for all of the people displaced by the fire by the end of the summer.
Hillsborough disaster
Ninety-six Liverpool fans died after a football terrace became overcrowded at Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield.

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