UK commemorates Grenfell Tower’s third anniversary


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The United Kingdom has marked the third anniversary of the Grenfell Tower apartment block fire with a virtual church service to remember the 72 people who died in the blaze.

Sunday 14th June marked three years since a small kitchen fire in the west London public-housing block turned into the worst domestic blaze in the country since World War II.

The fire spread rapidly and engulfed the 24-story building, shocking the nation and prompting a widespread investigation into low-cost and flammable cladding at high-rise buildings.

“As a nation, we are still dealing with the consequences of what happened and working to make sure it never happens again,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a video message to be shown at an online commemoration service. “While those affected by Grenfell are not able to gather in person, I want you to know that all of us in this country are with you in spirit.”

“I remain absolutely committed to uncovering the causes of this tragedy and ensuring it is never repeated.” In tribute to each victim who died in the fire, the bells of London churches will toll 72 times and green lights will glow from tower block windows to show solidarity with survivors and the bereaved.

The Humanity for Grenfell group recently held an online, multi-faith service and a 72-second moment of silence to remember the victims. Campaigners have also accused local and national authorities of allowing the installation of dangerous external cladding that became a major contributor to the rapid spread of the fire.

A public inquiry into the disaster was paused in March because of the coronavirus pandemic and is due to restart in July. Police have said no one is likely to face criminal charges until 2021.

The continuing Grenfell Tower Inquiry published its first report in October, highlighting “significant systemic failings” by the London Fire Brigade, including poor evacuation, command and communication procedures. Fire chiefs rejected the criticism.

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick promised changes to building regulations to “ensure that nothing like this ever happens again.”

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