72 months, 72 lives: London remembers Grenfell Tower fire victims

72 months, 72 lives: London remembers Grenfell Tower fire victims
Six years on, activists and community organisers are still pushing for accountability and justice for those killed in the Grenfell Tower blaze.
3 min read
14 June, 2023
Most of the victims of the Grenfell Tower blaze were from ethnic minority groups [Getty]

Mourners are to gather in London on Wednesday in remembrance of 72 Londoners who lost their lives in the Grenfell Tower fire of 2017. 

Six years ago today, residents of the West London tower block were burned alive in a disaster started by an electrical fault but blamed on lax planning regulations and systemic neglect

Most of the victims were from ethnic minorities, while almost half were of Middle Eastern or North African origin. A fifth of those that died that night were disabled.

Many of the survivors still struggle with physical conditions and psychological scars from the horrific blaze.

During Prime Ministers’ Questions in Parliament, both leaders paid tribute to the victims on Wednesday. 

Labour Party leader Keir Starmer said that justice for the victims of Grenfell was "long overdue".

At grassroots level, activists and local residents are holding a silent march in west London in protest against the lack of accountability over the fire.

Live Story

Until now, no single person, organisation or corporation has been held legally accountable for the deaths of the 72 residents.

"London will never forget the devastation of the Grenfell Tower fire," tweeted London mayor Sadiq Khan. 

"Six years on, we pay tribute to the 72 lives cut short, to those who lost loved ones and friends, and to the survivors and community of North Kensington."

Many tower blocks across London’s 32 boroughs still have the same notorious cladding that made the Grenfell Tower fire so deadly.

A combustible cladding system retro-fitted to the tower's external walls was the main factor in the unstoppable spread of the flames.

The disaster prompted a wave of soul-searching over whether neglect of an ethnically mixed, largely low-income community in one of London's wealthiest boroughs had played a part in the tower's fate.