Is there any way to prevent another disaster like the Grenfell Tower tragedy from happening again?
Bad building material used in a £10 million refurbishment completed just a year ago at Grenfell Tower and inadequate regulation have both been blamed for the horrific fire.
The building is owned by Kensington & Chelsea Council and managed by Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation
Many of the 24-storey tower block’s estimated 500-600 residents were reportedly from ethnic backgrounds. At least 12 people have died so far and many dozens more have been seriously injured. Of course, all are now homeless.
It’s not yet clear how the fire started except that it was on the second floor. It may have been an electrical fault, a careless resident, an act of vandalism, or even a terror incident. It’s too early for such speculation, though power surges due to faulty wiring had been reported previously.
According to a report by Laura Hughes in today’s Telegraph, “Theresa May has promised a ‘proper investigation’ amid growing concerns about how the fire could have spread so rapidly.”
But once the cause is ascertained, and if the landlord is found negligent, a complaint to the Housing ombudsman should be possible. Lawyers are not needed for filing such a complaint, just a clearly set-out argument.
Although residents made numerous complaints about the state of Grenfell Tower in the past, the potential scandal of yesterday’s tragedy may actually elicit an effective ombudsman’s response.
That may sound rather lame, but the Housing Ombudsman shares much jurisdiction with the Local Government Ombudsman and so any decision in favour of the complaining resident will be binding, at least across the borough.