Inquiry Begins Into Deadly London Grenfell Tower Fire That Killed More Than 70 - NBC 7 San Diego
National & International News
The day’s top national and international news

Inquiry Begins Into Deadly London Grenfell Tower Fire That Killed More Than 70

survivors and bereaved relatives had been left with "an abiding sense of injustice, betrayal and marginalization, leading to an overwhelming question: Why?" the chief counsel to the inquiry said

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    Chargers Make Unexpected Kicking Change
    Matt Dunham/AP, File
    In this Wednesday, June 14, 2017, file photo, smoke rises from Grenfell Tower in London. An inquiry into last year's devastating fire at Grenfell Tower in west London is underway.

    An inquiry into the fire that tore through London's Grenfell Tower high-rise almost a year ago, killing 72 people, began evidence hearings Monday with a lawyer vowing it would address the "overwhelming question: Why?"

    The judge-led inquiry, which is expected to last about 18 months, aims to find the causes of Britain's deadliest fire in decades and to prevent future tragedies.

    It will examine how a blaze that started with a faulty refrigerator spread so quickly, the response of emergency services and local authorities, and the country's high-rise building regulations. But some survivors are critical because it won't investigate wider issues around social housing.

    "The fundamental question which lies at the heart of our work is how, in London, in 2017, a domestic fire developed so quickly and so catastrophically that an entire high-rise block was engulfed," said Richard Millett, chief counsel to the inquiry. "And how it was that 71 people lost their lives in a matter of hours, leaving families and friends in shock, grief and bewilderment."

    Queen, Prince Visit Volunteers Helping with London Fire Afte

    [NATL] Queen, Prince Visit Volunteers Helping with London Fire Aftermath

    Britain's Queen Elizabeth and Prince William visited a West London site on June 16 where community groups have gathered supplies for those affected by the apartment tower fire disaster. The royals met with volunteers and local officials as well as firefighters and police officers. The queen has expressed her sympathies to families of victims of the blaze that ripped through the 24-story building, killing at least 30.

    (Published Friday, June 16, 2017)

    A 72nd victim injured in the blaze died in January.

    Millett said that survivors and bereaved relatives had been left with "an abiding sense of injustice, betrayal and marginalization, leading to an overwhelming question: Why?"

    The inquiry is one of the biggest ever held in Britain, involving dozens of lawyers representing more than 500 "core participants," including residents of the tower. It will hear from scores of witnesses, including police, firefighters, experts and survivors who escaped the fire.

    Monday's hearing follows almost two weeks of personal tributes from friends and family aiming to ensure that the victims — who ranged from an 84-year-old woman to a stillborn premature baby — aren't forgotten during many weeks of detailed evidence on building regulations, fire-safety procedures and government policies.

    Some residents accuse officials in Kensington and Chelsea, one of London's richest boroughs, of ignoring their safety concerns because the publicly owned tower was home to a largely immigrant and working-class population.

    Judge Martin Moore-Bick has assured survivors that "my team and I are determined to provide the answers that you seek."

    Deadly Flames Engulf London High-Rise

    [NATL] Deadly Flames Engulf London High-Rise

    Fire swept through a high-rise apartment building in west London early Wednesday, June 14, 2017, killing an unknown number of people and sending dozens to hospitals. More than 200 firefighters battled the flames, which engulfed the 24-story building.

    (Published Wednesday, June 14, 2017)

    Grenfell United, a group representing survivors and bereaved families, said the inquiry was "the beginning of a long road to justice."

    The group, which accuses local authorities and the government of failing to heed residents' safety warnings, said "the scale of the tragedy has devastated our lives and our community. What makes it even worse for us is the knowledge that these deaths were completely avoidable."

    Police say they are considering individual or corporate manslaughter charges in the blaze, but no one has yet been charged.