Lessons weren’t learned from horrors of Lakanal

(03 July, 2019) Editorials

So much of what went wrong at Lakanal was revisited on an even more horrific scale in the Grenfell Tower inferno

30449The fire at Lakanal

When you read our detailed look back at the horrors of the Lakanal fire ten years ago, you feel sickened to the pit of your stomach at the loss of life and the agony of the families of those who perished.

Once again, you come away with the inescapable conclusion that six deaths – including two children and a baby – could and should have been prevented.

But there is now an added dimension – recognition that so much of what went wrong at Lakanal was revisited on an even more horrific scale in the Grenfell Tower inferno.

There is no perfect safety plan that could guarantee all tower block blazes end with the safe evacuation all residents – that’s just not realistic. But what is without question is that lessons were not learnt on a national scale from the horrors of Lakanal House ten years ago.

That is the biggest insult to the people who lost their lives – Catherine Hickman, Dayana, Thais and Felipe Francisquini, Helen and Michelle Udoaka. It’s an insult to their devastated families. And it’s an insult to the seventy two people who perished nearly eight years later in Grenfell Tower.

The failing of duty then, and the failure to make systemic changes far beyond this borough leaves a legacy of shame. Our hearts go out to all those whose lives were torn apart by this tragedy, and who will remember their loved ones this coming week.

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