Grenfell survivor says they are being denied swift justice four years on

·3 min read
Grenfell Tower (PA Archive)
Grenfell Tower (PA Archive)

A survivor of the Grenfell Tower disaster has said ex-residents are still being “denied swift justice” four years on from the catastrophic fire.

Tiago Alves, his father, mother and younger sister all escaped from their home in Flat 105 on the 13th floor in the early stages of the deadly blaze on June 14, 2017.

On the night of the fire, his parents, returning home after dropping off visiting family at their hotel, became aware of smoke on the fourth floor.

Mr Alves’s father woke his sleeping children and alerted other residents on their floor to get out of the building that would eventually become engulfed in the smoke and flames that claimed 72 lives.

Tiago Alves (PA)
Tiago Alves (PA)

“There was a long time where I did feel like it could have been different, it could have been me,” he told the PA news agency.

Ahead of the fourth anniversary of the disaster on Monday, Mr Alves, 24, recalled the “frightening” and “chaotic” scenes four years ago, adding that he was “disappointed” at progress since.

He said recommendations from the phase one report of the ongoing inquiry into the fire had not been implemented, and noted the absence of the social housing white paper in the recent Queen’s Speech package of proposed legislation.

Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Police has previously been told to wait until the public inquiry has published its final report before passing evidence to the Crown Prosecution Service to consider any criminal charges.

“Implementing recommendations and the social housing white paper are important pieces of legislation for us to feel like it’s moving forward,” Mr Alves said.

“Because a criminal investigation can’t go ahead until the inquiry is over, it does feel like we’re being denied swift justice.

“It still doesn’t feel like we’re any closer to achieving the justice that people who passed away deserve. It just feels like it’s taking a long time.”

Monday marks four years since a small kitchen fire in a Grenfell Tower flat on an estate in Kensington, west London, turned into the most deadly domestic blaze since the Second World War.

The Grenfell United campaign group said there will be an online remembrance event at 7pm, while churches have been asked to simultaneously ring their bells 72 times at this time as an act of remembrance, followed by a two-minute silence.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said: “There are many whose lives will never be the same after Grenfell.

“We owe it to the people who died, to the survivors and the entire community to ensure that nothing like this ever happens again.”

He said the Grenfell community had been “unwavering in their dignity and strength, continuing to campaign and fight for justice and public safety”, and he would do “everything in my power to ensure all Londoners feel safe in their homes”.

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said: “This is a day for the bereaved, the survivors and the residents of North Kensington – all our thoughts are with them as they remember the lives lost in the Grenfell Tower tragedy, four years ago today.”

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