‘Every death was avoidable’ The inquiry into one of the UK’s worst housing disasters - in six quotes

With Neha Gohil Correspondent

The latest stage of the inquiry into one of the UK’s worst housing disasters - the Grenfell Tower Fire - has finished.

The Grenfell Tower disaster was a fatal fire that burnt through a west London tower block on 14 June 2017, which led to the deaths of 72 people. 
The fire sparked a huge debate in the UK around housing, safety and the treatment of different communities - including ethnic minorities and disabled people. 
The latest stage of the public inquiry, which was set up to look at what happened on the night and what caused the rapid spread of the fire, has now finished.
Lawyers representing bereaved family members, survivors, the UK government, the local council and building manufacturers gave closing statements to the inquiry.
We’ve pulled together six quotes to explain what you need to know:
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The Grenfell Tower in west London Credit: AP

“Each and every one of the deaths that occurred in Grenfell Tower...was avoidable”

Richard Millett KC, Lead Counsel for the Inquiry
The inquiry looked at which companies and organisations - like building manufacturers and the local council -  were responsible for the flammable cladding that was put up on Grenfell Tower.
Arconic Architectural Products made the flammable cladding that was used on the Grenfell Tower. 
The inquiry heard how the company marketed the cladding for use on tall buildings, even though they had test evidence which showed it was unsafe to do so. 
Arconic said that it is not their responsibility to ensure the materials are suitable.
They say it is the job of architects and construction firms.

“My life has changed…The people that I spent my time with are no longer there”

Nabil Choucair, Bereaved Family Member
Nabil lost six family members in the Grenfell Tower Fire including his mother, Sirria, sister, Nadia, his sister’s husband, Bassem, and their three daughters. 
In an interview with TNM earlier this year, he said they were a “very close family.”
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Nabil Choucair

“No longer will they be able to embrace their family members"

Imran Khan KC, Lawyer representing bereaved family
For five years, bereaved family members and survivors have continued to campaign for justice for the 72 who lost their lives. 
The 72 included mothers, fathers, grandparents, brothers, sisters, friends and children.
Phase 1 of the inquiry found the flammable cladding helped fuel the spread of the fire.
Phase 2 of the inquiry is trying to figure out how the building came to be covered in such flammable material. 

“The families of those who died and the wider public want to know who is to blame for this tragedy"

Richard Millett KC
The inquiry has spent four years trying to figure out who is to blame for the disaster. 
Richard Millett KC said the government, the local council, building manufacturers, safety regulators and more had created a “web of blame”. 
He explained how several companies and institutions blamed each other for the failure to ensure safe materials were used on the tower. 

"They want wholesale change to the housing sector...so that there is safe and suitable housing for all, not just the white, able bodied and wealthy”

Imran Khan KC
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Victims of the Grenfell Tower Fire Credit: Getty

Some say the Grenfell Tower Fire exposed the inequalities that exist in the UK.
Many of the people who lived in the tower and died in the fire were ethnic minorities. 
Almost 40% of Grenfell’s disabled and vulnerable residents died in the fire.
We have a YouTube documentary about the disabled residents of the Grenfell Tower.
Through the voices of a bereaved family member and survivors, we show how their warnings were ignored and safety compromised. Their fight for change is ongoing.
You can watch the video here. 

“We need to produce our report as soon as we can"

Sir Martin Moore-Bick, Chairman of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry
A report into who was to blame for the disaster is expected to be released in 2023.
Groups representing the bereaved and survivors say the people who are responsible for the disaster should be sent to prison. 
The police may press criminal charges but this is not likely to happen until 2024. 
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Next

The story of the disabled residents of Grenfell