In Memoriam

On the morning of 14 June 2017 at 00.54am, when Behailu Kebede made his 999 call from Flat 16 in Grenfell Tower, informing the fire brigade his fridge had burst into flames, unbeknown to the Fire Brigade the fire had burnt through a UPVC window frame and flames had begun to tear up the building fuelled by a devastating combination of flammable insulation and flammable cladding. Then

  • The stair lighting failed.

  • The smoke vents failed.

  • The fire doors failed.

  • The fire breaks between floors failed.

  • Badly fitting UPVC windows blazed and emitted deadly gases.

  • The insulation and cladding failed, due to their combustibility and to poorly fitted breaks and gaps which acted like a chimney.

  • The gas supply could not be turned off for 18 hours.

  • The ‘value engineered’ insulation (now banned) and cladding combination described as ‘solid petrol’ raged for hours.

  • The Council’s Tenant Management Organisation, had an emergency plan “but it was not activated and was in any case 15 years out of date”.

  • Council failed to make plans of the building available to the fire service earlier than 8:00am.

  • 72 people died unnecessarily. Our hearts go out to all the families who have lost loved ones.

Into this nightmare, firefighters had to work to save lives with equipment inadequate for a combination of disastrous errors that should never have been allowed. They went in untrained for a disaster that should never have happened.

And here lies the problem with this back-to-front Inquiry.

Despite the preceding five years of appalling decision-making and dereliction of duty by those in power at the Tenants Management Organisation  and authority, the fear the Inquiry would focus on the efforts of those sent to save lives into the hell created by others has come to be.

The Phase 1 report of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry is unfair, inequitable and seeks to blame the responders in place of those responsible.

 The inquiry’s second phase will deal with events leading up to the fire.

Our thanks and gratitude go out to all those firemen who did their job to the best of their ability with the equipment they had, especially when “No building had ever behaved like that. No building ever should.”

Finally our hearts go out to all those who lost one of the 72.


The Shepwayvox Team

Dissent is NOT a Crime

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2 Comments on In Memoriam

  1. Our sympathies and condolences go to all affected by the grenfell disaster as should be the case, and it seems to me imho that if I were the person in charge of EKH the last person I would of hired would of been Mark Anderson with his track record( it appears well known by Ms Upton) now they say lightening never strikes the same place twice but it appears it might have, I am lead to believe that Ms Upton latest recruit is a Mr David Lewis formerly of CIRCLE HOUSING , now in a senior post at EKH, his linked in profile shows he has a career record made up of very short tenures ( mainly a few months) what does that tell you ?
    Talk about give yer mates a job !!!

  2. doggerbank56 // November 3, 2019 at 13:57 // Reply

    I disagree – the firefighters were very brave as the report acknowledges but, they were badly let down by their leadership. I was shocked when its head Dany Cotton said that she disagreed with the report’s conclusion that more people could have been saved if the building had been evacuated quickly. What is particularly damning is that despite there having been a fire at a 14-storey tower block in 2009 the London Fire Brigade as an organisation was woefully under prepared for a repeat incident. Dany Cotton has also stated that “I would not change anything we did on the night” which suggests that the London Fire Brigade is an organisation in denial.

    I would agree that there are many other parties whose actions now need to be judged in the next stage of the report including the local authority, the housing management organisation, the manufactures of the cladding, the architects and the on-site contractors. However, the most egregious failing could turn out to be that of governments’ of both main parties for failing to ensure over at least the last 20 years that the building regulations were fit for purpose. If the building regulations had been reviewed and updated I strongly suspect that the cladding would never have been permitted to be used.

    For those who are interested there is a very good article in the London Review of Books written after the tragedy (link below).

    and the opposing view from the Grenfell Action Group

    Finally, I would draw a clear parallel between the tragedy of Grenfell Tower with the gross failings of East Kent Housing and the local authorities whose Councillors and officials failed to supervise it properly. One person has died (to date) but, the institutional failings clearly demonstrate that the welfare of tenants and ultimately council tax payers is not seen as a priority. If the representatives of East Kent Housing and the local authorities involved disagree with this assessment then Shepway Vox should offer them an opportunity to defend their actions/inactions to date.

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