At least 72 people were killed when a London tower block went up in flames. Two years after the disaster, many continue to demand accountability.
Friday marks the second anniversary of the Grenfell Tower fire, a residential block fire, which killed at least 72 people and left hundreds more injured and homeless.
The blaze started with a faulty fridge but was accelerated by cladding placed on the exterior of the building during a refurbishment ordered by the local municipal council.
It is thought that a cheaper and more flammable version of the cladding was used to save the council money instead of one that may have provided greater protection against fire.
The incident remains one of the worst disasters in modern British history in terms of lives lost.
Tributes to those who died poured in on social media throughout Friday but that was alongside heavy criticism of the government’s actions both preceding and following the fire.
The Conservative government is being blamed for creating the conditions that led to the fire with its policy of fiscal austerity, which deprived councils of cash to ensure safe standards were maintained, and by ignoring warnings on the risk of fire.
Tonight @GrenfellUnited is shining a spotlight on tower blocks across the country STILL unsafe 2 years after Grenfell! #demandchange pic.twitter.com/1y8s97NpyC— Karim Mussilhy (@KMussilhy) June 12, 2019
On Thursday, the website Inside Housing revealed that then-Housing Minister, Gavin Barwell, had received multiple letters warning him on inadequate fire safety measure in tower blocks across the country.
The former MP is accused of failing to act on those warnings but was nevertheless later appointed as an advisor to outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May despite losing his seat in the 2017 election.
Authorities were also accused of doing little to ensure buildings similar to Grenfell do not meet the same fate.
Despite concerns regarding the cladding used in Grenfell, the same type continues to be used in British buildings. The government allocated approximately $253 million to removing the cladding in May this year.
354 buildings still have flammable cladding in England and 176 high-rise buildings in London have still not removed the Grenfell-style cladding.— Freddie (@FreddieBailey96) June 13, 2019
But dont worry guys we've lit up the Houses of Parliament green. https://t.co/Ja5LIxnr1M
Responding to parliament’s decision to light Westminster Palace green in honour of the victims, Labour councillor Freddie Bailey wrote:
“354 buildings still have flammable cladding in England and 176 high-rise buildings in London have still not removed the Grenfell-style cladding. But don’t worry guys we've lit up the Houses of Parliament green.”
The Trade Unions Congress, the umbrella body for British unions, also lashed out on Twitter:
“Grenfell is a symbol of everything that’s wrong with Britain. Years of austerity and a system that doesn’t work for ordinary people.
We stand with everyone affected by Grenfell. And we vow to fight with them for justice.” It said.
Rise in Power Grenfell @GrenfellUnited pic.twitter.com/1qFoakZHH7— Shareefa Energy (@ShareefaEnergy) June 12, 2019