What we know about the Grenfell Tower fire disaster six months later

Grenfell Tower.
Grenfell Tower.
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Here is what is known about the Grenfell Tower disaster, six months on.

Victims:

* Police believe 293 people were in the 129-flat Grenfell Tower on the night of the fire, of which 223 escaped, based on CCTV and body-worn video.

* The final death toll was put at 71, including stillborn baby Logan Gomes, following an arduous process of recovering and identifying remains from the block. Westminster Coroner Fiona Wilcox said this was “highly unlikely” to change.

* The youngest child victim was Leena Belkadi, found dead in her mother’s arms at just six months old, while the oldest was grandmother Sheila Smith, 84.

* Three generations of the same family were killed on the 22nd floor: grandmother Sirria Choucair, 60, was found dead with Bassem Choukair, 40, his wife Nadia Choucair, 33, and their children Mierna Choucair, 13, Fatima Choucair, 11 and Zeinab Chouciar, three.

* A total of 400 people were listed as missing in the aftermath of the blaze. One person was reported missing 46 times.

* Bodies of some victims were so badly damaged by the fire that they had to be identified using anthropology, meaning their remains were meticulously reconstructed, and by consulting secondary, supportive evidence.

* Inquests were opened and adjourned for 70 of the victims across 19 hearings spanning five months.

Survivors:

* Kensington and Chelsea Council said 209 households from the tower, consisting of both families and single people, required rehousing following the fire. This figure is higher than the 129 flats, due to “changing housing compositions”, the council said, understood to include families with children over 18 becoming two households, rather than one.

* As of December 12, 111 families remained in emergency accommodation - mainly hotels.

* Only 45 households had moved into a permanent address and 54 into a temporary home, despite the council pledging to get every resident out of hotels by Christmas.

* Of those still in hotels, 29 have children, the council said

* Forty-nine families have accepted permanent housing offers but have yet to move.

* The council hoped to bolster its housing stock by an extra 300 properties by Christmas to meet the demand.

Police investigation:

* Kensington and Chelsea Council, which owned Grenfell Tower, and the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation (KCTMO), which formerly managed the estate, are being investigated by the Metropolitan Police on suspicion of corporate manslaughter. Further criminal charges could follow.

* The council funded a refurbishment which saw a flammable cladding system wrapped round the 24-storey block, a process designed and overseen by the KCTMO, an arms-length body which worked on behalf of the council, in conjunction with contractor Rydon.

* Investigators said in September that they had seized 31 million documents and 2,500 exhibits, identified 2,400 different individuals to speak to and taken more than 1,000 statements.

* More than 300 different organisations were identified as having had some kind of involvement in working on Grenfell Tower.

* Eight people have been charged or are under investigation for fraud in connection with the disaster. In November Anh Nhu Nguyen, 52, admitted two counts of fraud after claiming his wife and son died in the blaze, to pocket £12,500 intended to help victims.

Response

* The Government earmarked an extra £28 million to help with the aftermath of the fire, including £15 million to invest into the estate on which Grenfell Tower stands, Lancaster West.

* The council matched the £15 million cash injection for the neighbourhood.

* The KCTMO was stripped of its responsibility over the 9,000 property housing stock in Kensington and is faced with the prospect of being disbanded.

* Grenfell Tower will be returned to the council in the spring, after police conducted a finger-tip search and removed 15.5 tonnes of debris from each floor.

* It is currently being covered by white sheeting, floor by floor, ahead of a planned demolition at the end of 2018.

Inquiries:

* The Grenfell Tower public inquiry has held three preliminary hearings and hopes to begin evidence hearings in the new year, with an interim report planned for the spring. More than 400 individuals and groups were given core participant status.

* The Equality and Human Rights Commission announced this week that it would carry out its own review, following concerns the public probe, led by Sir Martin Moore-Bick, would neglect human rights concerns. It aims to conclude its work by April 2018.

* Dame Judith Hackitt is carrying out an independent review of building regulations and fire safety, which will submit its final report next spring. The investigation was ordered after it was suggested outdated building regulations led to high-rise towers across the country having dangerous cladding systems installed on them.

PIC: Simon Hulme

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