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'There is so much anger and so much deep upset': Public inquiry opens into Grenfell Tower blaze

80 people died after the causes and spread of the fire which ripped through the west London tower block in June.

The aftermath of the fire.
The aftermath of the fire.
Image: PA Wire/PA Images

Updated at 8.55am

THE PUBLIC INQUIRY into the Grenfell Tower fire in London which left at least 80 people dead is set to begin today.

The inquiry will look into the causes and spread of the fire which ripped through the west London tower block in June.

It will also look into the regulations around tower blocks and the reactions from the local authorities in the area in relation to the blaze.

The inquiry is chaired by retired UK High Court judge Sir Martin Moore-Bick.

He is due to deliver an opening statement and to lay out how the inquiry will function this morning at 10.30am.

Blaze

The fire engulfed the 24-storey tower block in North Kensington in London early in the morning on 14 June.

Many people became trapped in the tower and died inside.

In the immediate aftermath of the blaze, much criticism was focused on the fire safety regulations of the building and of other tower block across the UK.

Newly-fitted cladding – exterior fitting that is put onto a building to improve energy efficiency and insulation – came under scrutiny, with experts saying a more fire-resistant type could have been used.

The council also came in for strong criticism in the wake of the blaze.

While is believed that 80 people died in the fire, many victims are yet to be identified.

Commenting on the inquiry, Martin Howe, a solicitor representing some of the victims, said that the former residents of the tower blocks were deeply angered and upset.

“There is so much anger and so much deep upset at what happened there,” Howe told RTE’s Morning Ireland.

They’ve all been burnt out of house and home. They’re simply trying to find a home where they can start to rebuild their lives.

Howe said that the victims and their families wanted “to get to the truth of the matter”.

“They need absolute transparency as to why [the people who died]‘s lives were put in risk by wrapping that building in a toxic inflammable blanket of cladding,” he said.

They need to understand what happened so that the people who are responsible – they are publicly held to account.

Howe said that the community had been destroyed by the blaze and that the victims were dealing with deep psychological trauma as a result.

Terms of reference

The full terms of reference of the inquiry are as follows:

1. To examine the circumstances surrounding the fire at Grenfell Tower on 14 June 2017, including:

(a) the immediate cause or causes of the fire and the means by which it spread to the whole of the building;

(b) the design and construction of the building and the decisions relating to its modification, refurbishment and management;

(c) the scope and adequacy of building regulations, fire regulations and other legislation, guidance and industry practice relating to the design, construction, equipping and management of high-rise residential buildings;

(d) whether such regulations, legislation, guidance and industry practice were complied with in the case of Grenfell Tower and the fire safety measures adopted in relation to it;

(e) the arrangements made by the local authority or other responsible bodies for receiving and acting upon information either obtained from local residents or available from other sources (including information derived from fires in other buildings) relating to the risk of fire at Grenfell Tower, and the action taken in response to such information;

(f) the fire prevention and fire safety measures in place at Grenfell Tower on 14 June 2017;

(g) the response of the London Fire Brigade to the fire; and

(h) the response of central and local government in the days immediately following the fire

2. To report its findings to the Prime Minister as soon as possible and to make recommendations.

Read: Woman charged with fraud after claiming husband had died in Grenfell Tower fire

Read: ‘The pain we feel is indescribable’: Man with Irish roots identified as Grenfell Tower victim

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