Grenfell Tower Fire West London
I think it appropriate to allow the first waves of grief then anger to be felt before commenting on the tragic fire at Grenfell Flats, West London. It was quickly clear that there would be multiple fatalities. The seriousness of what unfolded is reflected in the announcement from the Prime Minister that there will be a full public inquiry to ‘leave no stone unturned’ in finding out the reasons for the tragedy.
Firstly, my heart goes out to the families and friends of those killed or missing in the fire. Residents in these flats are part of a strong and diverse local community already facing many challenges and that strength will help in the weeks, months and years ahead. I also want to recognise the professionalism and bravery of the London firefighters who, without hesitation, headed towards the danger to carry out at least 65 rescues and bring the fire under control. Within 24 hours they had penetrated all floors of the building and in the days and weeks ahead forensic and other teams will continue the harrowing task of searching for remaining victims.
The network of EuroFSA will know a lot of ‘information/speculation’ has appeared in the public domain. The fire will be investigated by specialist teams from within London Fire Brigade supported by many other specialists from the fire/investigation field. I know from first-hand experience that they will do a highly professional job.
Until that investigation is complete it would be irresponsible, however tempting, to comment on what may or may not have happened. Indeed, I would urge caution when simplistic solutions are being offered through the media to prevent future tragedies as the motivation for such advice is not always clear.
In the meanwhile the UK Government has been responding to events both in terms of immediate relief and regarding safety checks on building stock. Their statement on such checks can be found through this link Government Statement – Safety Checks on Private Residential Blocks.
The EuroFSA network stands able and willing to offer any support requested by the public inquiry including a perspective from other European countries. We will share the lessons from the public inquiry and do all we can to to ensure there is no repeat of this devastating fire.
Chair European Fire Safety Alliance