As outrage grows in the community at the senseless deaths caused by the horrific Grenfell Tower fire in London, more details are emerging about what many suspect is the main culprit of the blaze: the external cladding.
The UK Finance Minister, Philip Hammond, told BBC One‘s Andrew Marr Show that the cladding on the Grenfell Tower, installed in a 2015 external refurbishment, is in fact illegal to use in Britain.
— BBC News (UK) (@BBCNews) June 18, 2017
He also said that there would be a criminal investigation into whether – and how – building regulations had been breached during the refurbishment.
“My understanding is the cladding in question, this flammable cladding which is banned in Europe and the US, is also banned here.
“So there are two separate questions. One, are our regulations correct, do they permit the right kind of materials and ban the wrong kind of materials? The second question is were they correctly complied with?
“That will be a subject that the inquiry will look at. It will also be a subject that the criminal investigation will be looking at.”
Residents of the area where the tower stands report seeing the cladding go up in flames unbelievably quickly, spreading the fire around the whole building in less than an hour and dripping flaming debris onto the pavement below.
Landlords reportedly ignored their tenants’ pleas for better fire security, even as they warned the place had all the hallmarks of a deathtrap.
The disaster’s official death toll stands at 58, but community members believe the number to be much higher, as hundreds who lived in the council housing apartments remain unaccounted for.
Image: Leon Neal / Getty.