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Grenfell Tower fire: Public inquiry hearing opens

15 September 2017
Grenfell Tower fire: Public inquiry hearing opens

The inquiry will focus on the cause of the fire and why it spread so rapidly, high-rise building regulations, and how local authorities responded in the aftermath of the June 14 blaze.

The hearing will begin with an opening statement from its chairman, Sir Martin Moore-Bick, who is charged with finding answers to the many questions surrounding the worst fire in British post-war history. We need to know what happened, we need to have an explanation of this.

Retired Court of Appeal judge Sir Martin Moore-Bick, who will lead the Grenfell Tower fire public inquiry, looks at flowers left in tribute to the victims near the Grenfell on June 29, 2017.

Many of those affected have also expressed disquiet about the fact that Moore-Bick and the other lawyers appointed to run the inquiry are all white and from establishment backgrounds, whereas the Grenfell community is largely made up of people from ethnic minorities and immigrant backgrounds.

Yesterday, a fire expert told James that there are many examples of tower blocks with no fire alarms across the country - and that a disaster like Grenfell WILL happen again unless we make some changes.

Survivors and their families will be watching events unfold on live-screens in Notting Hill Methodist Church. A definitive death toll is not expected until at least 2018.

The scope of the inquiry has been fiercely criticised for failing to examine wider social housing policies.

The inquiry into the horrific blaze will be headed by Sir Martin Moor-Bick.

He issued a plea for those who may have evidence regarding the disaster to "do whatever they can to preserve the material and inform the inquiry team at once".

"I wish to emphasise that the inquiry is not limited to factual questions surrounding the development of the fire".

London Mayor Sadiq Khan called the results a "source of concern" and added: "The Grenfell public inquiry must report as soon as possible so that action can be taken". Labour MP for Kensington Emma Dent Coad said the community needed someone they could trust, rather than a "technocrat" who lacked "credibility".

The destruction of the 24-storey social housing block, home to a poor, multi-ethnic community raised public anger over social inequalities.

And seven in 10 blocks have only one staircase for evacuation, according to the shock results of a BBC Breakfast probe covering half of Britain's council and housing association-owned towers.