Grenfell Tower fire

2017 fire in West London

On the 14th of June 2017, a fire broke out in the 24-storey Grenfell Tower block of flats in North Kensington, West London, at 00:54 BST; 72 people died, including two who later died in hospital. More than 70 others were injured and 223 people escaped. It was the deadliest structural fire in the United Kingdom since the 1988 Piper Alpha oil-platform disaster and the worst UK residential fire since World War II. The fire was started by a malfunctioning fridge-freezer on the fourth floor. It spread rapidly up the building's exterior, bringing fire and smoke to all the residential floors. This was due to the building's cladding, the external insulation and the air gap between which enabled the stack effect. The fire burned for about 60 hours before finally being extinguished. More than 250 London Fire Brigade firefighters and 70 fire engines were involved from stations across London in efforts to control the fire, and rescue residents. More than 100 London Ambulance Service crews on at least 20 ambulances attended, joined by specialist paramedics from the Ambulance Service's Hazardous Area Response Team. The Metropolitan Police and London's Air Ambulance also assisted the rescue effort. The Grenfell Tower Inquiry began on 14 September 2017 to investigate the causes of the fire and other related issues. Findings from the first report of the inquiry were released in October 2019 and addressed the events of the night. It affirmed that the building's exterior did not comply with regulations and was the central reason why the fire spread, and that the fire service were too late in advising residents to evacuate. A second phase to investigate the broader causes began on the third anniversary in 2020. As of June 2020, the fire is currently being investigated by the police, a public inquiry, and coroner's inquests. Among the issues being investigated are the management of the building by the Kensington and Chelsea London Borough Council and Kensington and Chelsea TMO (or KCTMO, which was responsible for the borough's council housing) and the responses of the Fire Brigade, the council and other government agencies. In the aftermath of the fire, the council's leader, deputy leader and chief executive resigned, and the council took direct control of council housing from the KCTMO. The national government commissioned an independent review of building regulations and fire safety, which published a report in May 2018. Across the UK and in some other countries, local governments have investigated other tower blocks to find those that have similar cladding. Efforts to replace the cladding on these buildings are ongoing.
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