Protesters at Kensington and Chelsea council meeting: “This has been a massive crime and they all seem to be getting away with it”

By our reporters
21 July 2017

World Socialist Web Site reporters spoke to a number of those protesting outside the meeting.

Anthony, a local resident who knew several of those who perished in the fire, said that firefighters faced major obstacles that prevented a prompt response and which contributed to the fire getting out of control. He said, “The fire service got there in six minutes. It sounds good, six minutes, but when did they first deploy their hoses? When they got there, also, how many got there?

“What stage was the fire at? When they thought they had put the fire out, they couldn’t get to see the other side of the building was on fire. Why?

Anthony

“The reason is because of the so-called Academy [school] that was built on the car park. That was the car park for Grenfell Tower. Also, it was the assembly point for the people of Grenfell Tower in case there ever was a fire. Basically they got a call about a fire and got there and realised a school is in the way. There’s all these delays that put them towards their deaths. There was only space for two fire engines in one small corner near the tower. Every second counts in a fire. Then there was also no [tall] ladder.

“When they got to the building did they go upstairs to reassure people that it’s safe and say, ‘We’re going to put the fire out?’ Or did they go on a mission to say ‘Let’s evacuate, let’s evacuate,’ knowing that there are no sprinklers, no adequate fire safety system, no evacuation procedure?”

Asked who he thought should be held responsible, Anthony said, “The TMO [Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation—who ran Grenfell Tower on behalf of management] is responsible and no one have been brought to book. Nobody has been arrested at all. This has been a massive crime and they all seem to be getting away with it. We have to make sure they don’t and we will make sure they don’t.”

A resident who managed to escape from Grenfell Tower said, “When we went into the council chambers they locked the door behind us to stop other people coming in. We’ve been in this tower block and a lot of people couldn’t escape and we are suffering trauma from this. And now they are locking us in this room!”

Alan, who lived on the 15th floor of Grenfell Tower, said, “We won’t give up. They need to admit what they have done and give up. We are going to continue doing this until we find the truth. We are going to beat them. We won’t stop. We are one voice and we need justice for people who lost their life.

“We didn’t have any voice in the council meeting. We are speaking here but nothing is happening. I don’t care about accommodation. What I care about is justice for people who lost their lives. I care about people who are going to die tomorrow in another town because of them. What is happening is so wrong.”

Alan said that he had tried to contact Labour Party mayor Sadiq Khan about the campaign for justice for the victims of the Grenfell fire but had received no response. He said “I sent email to Sadiq Khan three weeks ago and called him twice. I was cut off.”

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