Carlos FresnedaLondon Correspondent

London Correspondent

Updated Friday, February 23, 2024-16:33

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The ghost of



Grenfell Tower

is projected onto the tragedy of the block of flats in



The flammable cladding, which contained polyethylene, was one of the causes of the worst residential fire in the

United Kingdom

since the Second World War, which caused

72 deaths

and seriously endangered the lives of

600 residents

on June 14, 2017.

After almost seven years, the sinister structure of the tower

remains standing

in the "poor" area of ​​the Kensington neighborhood, covered by a white tarp and a gigantic green heart, while those affected continue to wait for justice.

The dramatic images of the fire in Valencia have served to rekindle this week in London the pain caused by a disaster that could have been avoided.

The investigation is still open, but the provisional conclusions recognize that the fire was due to a cascade of human errors.

The 24-story tower with 120 apartments

burned like a pyre in less than three hours

due to a short circuit in a refrigerator on the fourth floor.

The covering of the building - built in 1967 and renovated in 2012 - was made up of aluminum "composite" panels with a central

polyethylene core, which covered




The high combustibility of the exterior cladding, together with the presence of voids, contributed to the rapidity with which the fire spread, both vertically and horizontally, and to creating a "chimney effect."

The fire doors gave way after twenty minutes.

Firefighters were unable to use the building's own water supply or use the elevators to move their equipment to the upper floors.

The building also had only one staircase (something legal in the United Kingdom).

Residents on the upper floors were also ordered to "stay put", which made evacuation even more difficult.

No one ultimately died below the 11th floor, but the constant hovering of the helicopters created even more confusion on the upper floors: many of them believed they were going to be rescued through the roof.

Edward Daffarn

, rescued in time by firefighters on the fifth floor and known by his neighbors as "the prophet of Grenfell", usually refers to what happened as a tragedy in three acts: "First, the doubts about the safety of the building that did not were taken into account; second, the failures committed on the same night and, third, the abandonment that we neighbors have suffered in the following years.

Daffarn assures that during the months before the tragedy he communicated his concern to the district of Kensington and Chelsea about the disdain of the contractor who managed the maintenance of the social housing building.

The renovation of the building in 2012, with the cladding to "improve" its exterior appearance, had also raised the suspicions of the neighbors who have continued to wait for justice since 2017.

"All the links in the chain were rotten, starting with the Government that did not act after another similar fire that cost six lives in 2009," says Daffarn.

"Greed and inhumanity were the real causes of the tragedy... I thought Grenfell was going to serve as a catalyst for social change, but nothing has fundamentally changed and our wounds will remain open as long as those responsible are not held accountable. dock".

The British Government ordered a thorough review of the housing stock and estimated that 16,000 private apartments used the same type of cladding.

Some 340 residential towers were considered "at risk" due to the use of flammable materials.

Despite measures taken to improve safety in public housing, much of the flexible construction rules that allowed Grenfell to be renovated with cheap materials remain in place.

Michael Gove


, eternal survivor after five prime ministers, came to recognize last year, when he was Minister of Housing, that the Government's "flawed and ambiguous guidelines" were partially responsible for the Grenfell Tower tragedy.

"Lax regulation allowed cladding companies to put people's lives at risk to make a profit," Gove admitted.