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Grenfell Inquiry hears of ‘years of buck passing’ leading up to fire

12 May 2021

Evidence from the Tenants Management Organisation (TMO) to the Grenfell Tower Inquiry continues to highlight a catalogue of errors and buck passing in the years and months leading to the fire in June 2017, where 72 people lost their lives. 41% of Disabled people in the Tower died in the fire and 85% of all deaths were people from Black and minority ethnic backgrounds.

Flat front doors with no self-closing mechanisms, lack of ventilation in the main stairway and gas pipes laid through the main stairway and into flats, were all shared in evidence, as was the inaction to put things right.

Information on the needs of Disabled tenants was on two different IT systems and at no point were Disabled residents advised that they were entitled to Personal Emergency Evacuation Plans (PEEPs). It was acknowledged in a TMO policy document that provisions for PEEPs were ad hoc and that residents could self-nominate to have one. However, it was also acknowledged that at no time were residents informed that they could request a PEEP.

There was a total failure to consider and plan for the possibility of evacuation in the event of fire, with no evacuation plan for the high-rise block and no individual plans for Disabled residents unable to self-evacuate.

DR UK Head of Policy Fazilet Hadi said: "Despite the Fire Safety Order 2005 clearly saying that there must be regular fire risk assessments and action taken as a result, the level of inadequate assessment and failure to take even the most basic of actions is breath-taking

“The TMO had detailed information on the needs of Disabled residents, yet failed to take any responsibility for what could happen to Disabled people in the event of fire, using as their justification that the London Fire Brigade would be responsible should any evacuation be required"

“The Government needs to act quickly to place clear legal duties on building owners and managing agents to develop PEEPs for Disabled residents unable to self-evacuate, as recommended by the Grenfell Tower Inquiry. Current guidance to local authorities saying that PEEPs are impractical needs to be urgently withdrawn.”