UK: Grenfell Tower fire: Vigils held to mark one-year anniversary
A year after the Grenfell Tower fire, a series of vigils and commemorations are being held in memory of the 72 people who died as a result of the blaze.
The tower, as well as numerous other buildings across London, were illuminated at 00:54 BST, the time a fire was reported in a flat last June.
A vigil took place at a church near the block, where the victims’ names were read out at 01:30.
And a minute’s silence will be observed nationally at midday.
Cressida Dick, the Metropolitan Police commissioner, said that despite a year having passed, the tragedy “remains very real, raw and painful for many people, every day”.
She added: “Met officers and staff continue to work very hard to progress our ongoing investigation, to assist the public inquiry and provide support to families.”
Natasha Elcock, who was one of the last residents to be rescued from the tower and is now a member of the survivor group Grenfell United, has praised the community’s response to the fire.
Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, she said: “We could have been the most angry community out there because of what happened, but we’ve chosen to be dignified, be calm.
“Ultimately, that’s earned us respect.”
She added: “We really want to ensure that we change so much that Grenfell is not remembered because it killed 72 people but because it has a legacy of change – that behaviours change within social housing, the way people are treated, how they are listened to.”
Since the fire, the tower has been covered in white sheeting with a heart featured on all four sides at the top of the block.
The anniversary comes as an inquiry into the fire continues its fact-finding stage.
During the inquiry, the 999 call made by Behailu Kebede, in whose kitchen the fire started, was released.
Lawyer Rajiv Menon said “nasty lies” had been written about Mr Kebede – including claims he had carried out DIY on the fridge-freezer, where it is thought the fire could have started.
Kensington and Chelsea Council said 52 households remained in temporary accommodation and 83 are in permanent homes.
Another 68 are in “emergency” accommodation – 42 in hotels, 22 in serviced apartments, and four staying with family or friends.
Member of the Justice 4 Grenfell campaign group Yvette Williams said: “We want the nation to keep Grenfell in their consciousness.
“The anniversary is about love and support – the fight can start again on Friday and Saturday – and keeping that humanity going on that day.”
Source: Starr Radio UK/BBC