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Grenfell: To Be Demolished?

Grenfell Tower.


We all remember, the awful events, four years ago of the Grenfell tower block fire. How firefighters, struggled to reach the very top of the building, trying to stem the fire and bring to safety, residents. How the blaze, was apparently started by a faulty fridge plug. The residents were a microcosm of faiths, races, cultures, and nationalities, but first of all, they were all human, because, we all suffer. Some compared it to 9/11 when 3,000 people met their end in a terrorist attack. Seeing the building on fire that day, (Grenfell, was a horrible sight to behold). 72 people lost their lives that day and it seemed, sadly, and in many respects, the emergency services were not prepared for such a disaster, (though, they did, their best).

Those that survived the fire, regardless of their faith, race or nationality were united in their grief. Local churches and other religious establishments held memorial services. These faith-based institutions proved to be a bedrock of support and help, to the Grenfell survivors. The cheap cladding was blamed for the fire spreading, as the materials melted. Buildings even now, still retain the same kind of cladding, that helped spread the towering inferno, that Grenfell became. The government has provided money for the removal of such cladding. However, residents in high-rise buildings, find themselves, paying for the removal of the cladding, (which many cannot afford). They find themselves trapped in fire risk buildings, because many of them, just cannot afford the bill of removing the cladding. They cannot sell their flats, because frankly, who would buy a flat, that is covered with the same cladding, that destroyed Grenfell?

There has been and there are ongoing investigations, into the Grenfell disaster. The residents who survived and lost loved ones formed, an action, committee. This committee liaises, with the government all things, to do with Grenfell. Prime Minister, Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn visited the site, of the cataclysm. Both walkabouts, were very different in nature, in fact, Mrs. May's visit wasn't even a walkabout. It was just standing there with bodyguards. The community of surviving Grenfell residents was kept away from the UK's, 2nd female, Prime Minister. Whether that was deliberate or not, cannot be known, never less, it was not a good look. The Prime Minister came over as uncaring, she may not have been. However, public images can say more than any words can. Jeremy Corbyn visited and it was entirely different. Mr. Corbyn met the local community and spoke, hugged and obviously, this went down very well. Of course, one can accuse, Mr. Corbyn, (who wished to be Mrs. May's successor), of a PR stunt. However, one feels that Mr. Corbyn, though not perfect, had the heart and the care that day, to engage, with the community.

In 'The Times' a report says, the government will be demolishing the tower, because of safety concerns. Structural engineers and building experts have advised the government that the remains, of Grenfell, have structural problems. So, therefore the wrecked hulk of a building needs, to be taken down, gently. However, the Grenfell United action group has said, the total opposite. According to their information, the burnt-out building is no danger, to the surrounding, community.

When this report of demolishing Grenfell, appeared, in 'The Times' many ex-Grenfell residents were outraged. The residents, members of the said, action group, said they had not been consulted about the demolition. In fact, they were stunned, to see, such a report appearing in a newspaper, before they even knew, about it.

One Grenfell resident said, taking down, the building before a memorial is put in place, is just wrong. This resident who lost loved ones in the fire said the government's decision was "disgusting" and that he was "disappointed".

The tower has stood and rightly so, as a monument to the victims, who lost their lives, that day. It is a sensitive issue of dismantling this building, given, what happened. So it is very important that the local authority, (Tory-run), and the government get this right, in liaising with the survivors. For their part, the government state that "no decision" has been made yet, about the future of the tower. And, that it always deals with the survivors, as sensitively and as humanely, as it can.

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Of course, a memorial must be put in place, as with the 9/11 victims. In that case, the wreckage of the twin towers was dismantled and removed, before the erection of any memorial. Perhaps, it would be good for the Grenfell victims, to liaise with those who lost friends, family, work colleagues, etc from 9/11.

There are sure to be common feelings, on the subject, of the two disasters and when it is appropriate, to erect a memorial.

Of course, as mentioned, in New York, there is a memorial to the victims of 9/11. Each person, who died or went missing in that attack, is mentioned. So it should be to any Grenfell memorial erected, either before or after, Grenfell tower is eventually dismantled.

The tower block fire, was the worst, as far as is known, the disaster of its type in the UK. This disaster must never be forgotten and lessons must be learned, also, but will they?

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