Grenfell Tower Inquiry:
Survivors and bereaved give evidence—“We will not be silenced anymore”
13 October 2018
The official inquiry into the Grenfell Tower fire of 14 June 2017, which claimed 72 lives, has been hearing testimony from survivors, relatives and the bereaved about the events of that night.
The Inquiry is separating evidence about the night’s events from submissions on wider issues concerning the responsibility for the fire of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC) and the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation (KCTMO)—which managed the building on its behalf. These are scheduled for Phase Two of the Inquiry, which will not begin until after December.
This is confirmation of the Socialist Equality Party and Grenfell Fire Forum’s insistence that the Inquiry will not bring justice. Established by the Conservative government under the provisions of the 2005 Inquiries Act, the Inquiry has no powers to prosecute. Its fraudulent character was epitomised by chairman Sir Martin Moore-Bick’s statement that issues of a “social, economic and political nature” will not be part of its deliberations.
The separation of submissions is part of that process, but the evidence nonetheless confirms that the Grenfell fire was a social crime.
Survivor testimony reveals a devastating picture of official negligence before and after the fire. Witnesses commented on the absence of sprinklers, the lack of smoke alarms in communal areas, and the inadequacy of one stairwell as an escape route. Many said fire alarms had not yet been activated by the time they left their apartments on the night of the fire.
The eyewitness accounts make for harrowing reading.
David Benjamin, who was staying with his partner on the fourth floor, said…