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Grenfell Tower Fire Inquiry: Phase 1 report findings released

The tower's “stay put” policy contributed to loss of life

Posted: Oct. 31, 2019

The first report from the public inquiry into the London, England apartment building fire that killed 72 people in 2017 was released this week.

On June 14, 2017, a fire started in a fourth-floor kitchen at the 24-story Grenfell Tower in London. It spread quickly up the building’s exterior and around all four sides of the building. The fire was the worst residential fire in the United Kingdom since World War II.

The Prime Minister called for a public inquiry to review the details of the fire and the response. The Grenfell Tower Inquiry was divided into two phases. The first phase focused on events that occurred the night of the fire.

Phase 1 report findings

Several things contributed to the fire and loss of life:

  • Grenfell Tower had recent renovations to include cladding and insulation on the outside of the building. Fire spread from the kitchen to the cladding, then spread rapidly up and around the building, enveloping it in under three hours.
  • The tower had a “stay put” policy for residents in the event of a fire, basically shelter-in-place, due to the "compartmentation" design of the apartment building. Many residents were trapped by the time the policy was revoked.
  • Several fire protection measures inside the tower failed, including some fire doors.
  • London Fire Brigade (LFB) had no usable information on Grenfell Tower in its operational risk database. The information the database did contain was many years out of date and did not include the recent renovations.
  • LFB incident commanders had no training on how to recognize the need for an evacuation or how to organize one. There was no contingency plan for the evacuation of Grenfell Tower.

Video statement of Sir Martin Moore-Bick, Chairman of the Grenfell Tower Fire Inquiry.

Read the full report for additional details on the renovation and building materials, the “stay put” policy, and additional information about the London Fire Brigade's response.

The second phase of the inquiry will review circumstances of death for the fatalities, the design of the building renovation and choice of building materials, and the organization and management of the LFB.

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