Detective Superintendent Fiona McCormack has told media assembled in Scotland Yard earlier today that Metropolitan Police are willing to consider manslaughter charges against persons found to have engaged in illegal activity in relation to the refurbishment, and initial construction, of Grenfell Tower.
“We will identify and investigate any criminal offence and, of course, given the deaths of so many people, we are considering manslaughter, as well as criminal offences and breaches of legislation and regulations.
“We are looking at every criminal offence from manslaughter onwards, we are looking at every health and safety and fire safety offences and we are reviewing every company at the moment involved in the building and refurbishment of Grenfell Tower.”
As part of an ongoing investigation into the tragedy which has so far left nine dead, with 79 still missing, UK police performed safety tests on pieces of insulation and cladding tiles that were used on the building – materials failed these tests. They are now trying to ascertain whether use of the materials was illegal, seizing documents and materials from a number of organisations.
McCormack said that the insulation was “more flammable than the cladding“: “Preliminary tests show the insulation samples collected from Grenfell Tower combusted soon after the tests started. The initial test on the cladding tiles also failed the safety tests.”
Councils have been ask to conduct safety checks of other tower blocks that are clad by the same flammable aluminium panels as those at Grenfell Tower. Already Islington Council has confirmed cladding will be removed from a high-rise block in their borough because of the presence of the material.
Metropolitan Police also revealed today that the initial cause of the fire was a fridge-freezer, a Hotpoint model FF175BP, manufactured between March 2006 and July 2009. While the government conduct tests on the model, Hotpoint has requested owners of its fridges to check their model numbers for FF175BP or FF175BG, and to contact the company on a freephone hotline or online to register their information.
The search of the Tower for missing persons is expected to take up until the end of the year, while the police investigation continues, according to McCormack, focused on two main priorities: “the speed that it spread through the building, but also the internal safety aspects of the building“.
Source: The Guardian.
Photo: Carl Court / Getty.