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Grenfell Tower fire survivors 'owe lives to chance'

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People who escaped Grenfell Tower owe their lives primarily to chance rather than risk assessment and contingency planning, a public inquiry has heard. Danny Friedman QC, representing some of the survivors, said his clients had come to the inquiry in a "calm rage".No-one has yet accepted any responsibility for their part in what happened, he said.The inquiry into last year's fire in west London, which caused 72 deaths, is at the start of a fact-finding stage.In an opening speech, Mr Friedman said Kensington Council had instigated and overseen a refurbishment of the tower block "in such a way as to render it a death trap".
The council and the Tenant Management Organisation (TMO) used public funds, paid to professionals, contractors and sub-contractors, "none of whom have yet accepted any responsibility for their part in what happened", he added. "Residents - some of the people commemorated last fortnight, and some of the people sitting here today - told them this could happen. But they were fobbed off. "Certainly not treated as equals; and denied access to the information that they could have used to save themselves; or to save others."
What happened at Grenfell Tower
Grenfell Inquiry: What five reports reveal
Visual guide to the fire
Of the firefighting response, he said there were instances of deep gratitude for firefighters but warned "solace" in their heroism was not a route to learning lessons. "The response failed to realise quickly enough that this was a fire that could not be fought and required an evacuation that could not be delayed," he added.On Monday, an expert report was submitted by Dr Barbara Lane which found that the Fire Brigade's policy to tell people to stay in their homes had "effectively failed" barely half an hour after the fire started at 01.26 BST on 14 June.A change in policy recommending residents leave was not made until 02:47.Mr Friedman went on to ask how these people were left so exposed to "such trauma and death".
'Failures at every level'
His colleague, Stephanie Barwise QC, said the fire, which started as a kitchen fire, should have remained so.To become a disaster of this scale suggested failures at every level of design and construction of the refurbishment, she said."Of the six commonly recognised layers of protection against fire - namely prevention, detection, evacuation, suppression, compartmentation and the resistance of the structure to the fire - at Grenfell Tower, five of those layers failed."That the structure survived is testament to its original solid concrete, virtually incombustible construction."The Metropolitan Police said the forensic investigation inside Grenfell Tower has finished and the site would cease being a crime scene in July or August.
Day-by-day: the inquiry so far
Day 1: Tribute to baby as Grenfell inquiry opens
Day 2: Families walk out as Grenfell video shown
Day 3: Victim's son 'prays for death' to join father in heaven
Day 4: Grenfell niece tribute distress for aunt
Day 5: 'We will never play again'
Day 6: Grenfell Tower dad blames firefighters
Day 7: Disabled woman was placed on 18th floor
Day 8: 'Catastrophic' safety failures outlined
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Grenfell Tower fire survivors 'owe lives to chance'

Grenfell Tower fire survivors 'owe lives to chance'

London
Grenfell Tower fire
Grenfell Tower Inquiry
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