NEWS
04/06/2018 07:01 BST

Grenfell Tower: Expert Evidence On The Cause Of The Blaze To Be Published For The First Time

Public inquiry to hear from those responsible for the building.

PA Wire/PA Images

Thousands of pages of expert reports into the cause and spread of the Grenfell Tower fire will be made public for the first time on Monday, after they are admitted into evidence on the first day of the public inquiry into the tragedy.

Following days of heartbreaking testimonials last week from the families of the 72 people who died on June 14 last year, Sir Martin Moore-Bick, the inquiry chair will now begin to hear statements this week from companies and organisations directly involved in the building, refurbishment and management of the Tower.

On Monday, the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, in which the tower stood, and the Tenants Management Association, which ran the building, will deliver opening statements. The companies that produced the cladding and insulation, the London Fire Brigade, and the man in whose flat the fire started, will all make statements through their lawyers.  

Speaking to the Guardian newspaper on Sunday, the Grenfell Tower resident who issued warnings in 2016 that disaster would strike the building said he thought the inquiry would expose “that everything that happened was avoidable”. 

Edward Daffarn, a mental health worker who lived in Grenfell Tower for 16 years, wrote eight months before the fire: “Only a catastrophic event will expose the ineptitude and incompetence of our landlord ... and bring an end to the dangerous living conditions and neglect of health and safety legislation that they inflict upon their tenants and leaseholders.”

Five expert reports are due be published on the inquiry website on Monday, detailing what started the fire, and how it spread so fast; the significance of the cladding in helping the inferno climb the west London tower; how fire protection measures may have failed; and what regulations were in force over the course of the tower’s lifetime. 

On Sunday the inquiry announced that it had instructed Beryl Menzies, of Menzies Partners, as an expert witness. Menzies will be producing a report on the refurbishment of Grenfell Tower, and whether “steps were taken by the relevant parties” to make sure the changes were in line with safety regulations. 

Her appointment follows that of Professor David Purser of Hartford Environmental Research, who is an expert witness on the production of toxic gases in fires similar to that at Grenfell Tower, and will speak about the “consequences” of inhaling them. 

His report will also consider the likely causes of incapacitation and death at the tower and the “toxicity when exposed to fire of certain materials which were present at the time”.

The inquiry has also said that during the course of the evidence there will be images and videos shown of the fire, but said warnings will be given before any are shown. 

During the commemoration hearings, when families delivered moving speeches and showed films they had made in tribute to loved ones, some people fled the conference room after footage of the fire was played without warning, later leading to a medical emergency.

The following day warning notes were left on seats notifying attendees that they might be shown “particularly upsetting” content.

Inquiry chairman Moore-Bick was criticised in March for advising survivors to “stay where you are” during a fire alert at another chamber

As was provided at the Millennium Gloucester Hotel hearings, which took place in the final two weeks of May, there will be separate breakout areas at the Holborn Bars in central London, where the inquiry will sit, for the bereaved, survivors and residents.

Poignant tributes shared during the commemorative hearings including the story of the Gomes family who lost their son Logan hours after escaping from the 21st floor of the tower. Logan was stillborn at seven weeks. 

Rania Ibrahim, who live-streamed the final moments of her life from the top of the tower where she perished along with her two children, Fethia, five, and three-year-old Hania. 

And that of Nicolas Burton who lost his “perfect” wife of 34 years after she suffered a stoke in the months after the blaze and never recovered.