Grenfell Tower fire: Sadiq Khan says government and developer response has been ‘woefully inadequate’

Tragically 72 people lost their lives as a fridge fire turned the 24-storey building into an inferno on June 14 2017.

Sadiq Khan has slammed the response by the government and housing developers to the Grenfell Tower fire as “woefully inadequate”, on the fifth anniversary of the tragedy.

Tragically 72 people lost their lives as a fridge fire turned the 24-storey building into an inferno on June 14 2017.

The flammable cladding on the outside of the high rise mean the flames quickly engulfed the building, and it took more than 24 hours for firefighters to put it out.

It was the most deadly residential blaze in Britain since the Second World War, compounded by the “stay put” policy, which meant residents stayed in their flats as the fire raged.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan met with families of the victims outside of Grenfell Tower, ahead of the wreath laying ceremony for the second anniversary

And five years after the tragedy, the mayor of London, Mr Khan, slammed the government response to the fire as “woefully inadequate”.

Hes said:  “On the fifth anniversary of the Grenfell Tower fire, the 72 Londoners who lost their lives in this appalling tragedy are in my thoughts and prayers.

“We owe it to all the people who died, the survivors, the bereaved families and the whole community to ensure that nothing like it ever happens again.

“Over the last five years the Grenfell community have shown enormous dignity, strength and unity in their fight for justice.

“They have also shown remarkable courage in campaigning for improved public safety for all while navigating their own personal grief and recovery.

How the Grenfell Tower fire spread.

“The response from the government, building developers and owners has been woefully inadequate and fallen well short of what the families and survivors had a right to expect.

“Major reforms to fix a broken system are long overdue and it is disgraceful that the Government has so far failed to complete a single recommendation directed at them from the first phase of the Grenfell Tower Inquiry – leaving too many Londoners at risk in high-rise buildings.

“As mayor of this great city, I stand shoulder to shoulder with the Grenfell community and vow to continue to do everything in my power to ensure that they get the justice they deserve and changes are implemented urgently so that all Londoners can feel safe in their homes.”

Firefighters paying tribute to the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire, as the building is set to be demolished over safety fears

Adding to Sadiq Khan’s tributes, the Deputy Assistant Commissioner of the Met Police, Stuart Cundy has said: “Five years on from the Grenfell Tower fire the thoughts of all of us in the Met are with everyone affected, in particular those who lost loved ones, those who survived the devastating tragedy, those for whom Grenfell Tower was home.

“None of us can pretend to understand what it is like for those so deeply affected by the fire.

“They have my commitment that the Met remains absolutely focused on the criminal investigation, which is one of the largest and most complex investigations ever undertaken by the Met.

The Grenfell Tower fire. Credit: DANIEL LEAL/AFP via Getty Images

“Our investigation continues at pace. We have more than 180 dedicated investigators, working with international experts.

“They spent a year forensically examining the tower, have taken more than 9,000 witness statements and continue to work through over 130 million documents recovered from a wide range of companies and organisations who are linked to the tower, including its management and refurbishment.”

DAC Cundy confirmed Scotland Yard is still “investigating a full range of offences including corporate manslaughter, gross negligence manslaughter, fraud and health and safety offences”.

London Police Commander Stuart Cundy arrives to attend the Inquiry into the Grenfell Tower fire disaster. Photo: Getty

“Forty people have been interviewed under caution, many multiple times and more interviews under caution will take place,” he said.

“I recognise the frustrations of some about the significant length of this complex criminal investigation.

“We are in an unusual situation where our police investigation and the public inquiry are being conducted at the same time.

“The criminal investigation is independent of inquiry but, as we have said previously, the criminal investigation must take into account any findings or reports produced by the inquiry.

“Once we have fully examined the findings of the Phase 2 report we will present our evidence to the Crown Prosecution Service so they can consider charging decisions.”

The Grenfell Tower inquiry also shared the following statement: “The fifth anniversary of the fire on June 14 provides an occasion to mourn with renewed intensity the tragedy in which so many people suffered a terrifying ordeal as well as losing not only their homes and possessions but in many cases their dearest relatives and friends.

“The panel, together with the whole of the Inquiry team, remains acutely conscious of the effect of the disaster on those who were directly involved and on the wider community in North Kensington.

We continue to offer them our deepest sympathy and we repeat our determination to ensure that the Inquiry uncovers the full story behind the causes of the tragedy and provides answers to the many questions that continue to trouble them.”

The memorial wall underneath the Grenfell Tower has tributes to the 72 people who lost their lives during the fire

On the night of the tragedy, many of the residents were told to remain inside their flats and wait for help to arrive, but they became trapped as the fire became out of control.

Some residents inside the building moved upwards and sought refuge in flats with their friends and neighbours in a desperate attempt to escape the fire.

Out of the 24 people that died on the top floor, only nine of them actually lived in flats on that floor.

A fire crew entered the flat where the fire had begun at around 1.07am with around 40 fire engines in attendance just an hour later.

Where the Grenfell Tower victims lived and died.

The fire did not burn itself out until 1:14am the following morning, meaning the building had been alight for over 24 hours.

The cladding on the outside of Grenfell Tower has been blamed as the reason that the fire spread so quickly.

With Professor Luke Bisby reporting to the public inquiry that evidence “strongly suggests” that the polyethylene material that the cladding was made out of was the primary cause of the fire spreading.

Several families were killed in the fire, including a six month old baby who died in her mothers arms as they tried to escape.

A public inquiry was ordered by former prime minister, Theresa May, which has reached phase 2 of its investigation.