Grenfell Tower probe into how fatal blaze started to be published within weeks

The Canary

A report investigating how the Grenfell Tower fire that killed 72 people started will be published before the end of the month after the prime minister approved its release.

The first stage of the inquiry into the fire has been completed and Boris Johnson has asked the chairman to make it public before October 30 – more than two years after the fatal west London blaze took place.

The paper will look at how the fire started, the reason it spread as it did and the reaction from the emergency services.

In a letter to inquiry chairman Sir Martin Moore-Bick, Johnson said: “I invite you to publish the phase 1 report without delay.

“I would be grateful if you could publish as soon as you are able to, and no later than 30 October 2019.”

Moore-Bick said he would be making a copy of his findings available to the families and survivors at least 36 hours before making it public.

In a statement, an inquiry spokesman said: “The chairman believes that it is very important that those most affected by the fire have the opportunity to read and absorb the key findings in the report before it is made public.

Grenfell Tower memorial
Families marked the two-year anniversary of the blaze earlier this year (Isabel Infantes/PA)

“In particular, he wishes to avoid a situation in which bereaved, survivors and resident core participants learn of any of the contents of the report as a consequence of media coverage arising from premature or unauthorised disclosure.”

Johnson will receive the report three days before the publication date.

The report, which follows the first phase of the inquiry, will focus on what happened on the night of the fire and was expected to be published in spring.

There was an outcry from groups representing survivors and families of the 72 people killed in the fire earlier this year after it was revealed publication would be postponed by almost six months.

Natasha Elcock, chair of Grenfell United, the survivors and bereaved family group, branded the delay “disgraceful” at the time.

The delay was down to the initial investigation being a “far more complex and time-consuming task than the inquiry had originally anticipated”, according to a letter published in May from Caroline Featherstone, solicitor to the inquiry.

Featherstone said the phase one report would explain “how it spread” and what occurred on each floor of the block of flats in the summer of 2017.

“That involves an almost minute-by-minute description of how the fire started, how it spread and what was happening on each floor of the tower,” she said in her letter at the time.

“It also involves a detailed description and analysis of what was happening in the incident control room and on the ground, as well as the response of the emergency services and relevant organisations.”

The second stage will focus on establishing how Grenfell Tower came to be in a condition that allowed a tragedy on such a scale to occur.

Hearings for Phase 2 are expected to start in January.

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