Grenfell: Cladding firms helped write safety rules

By Gerard Tubb, Sky News Correspondent and Nick Stylianou, Sky News Producer

The deaths of 71 people in Grenfell Tower was a defining tragedy in 21st century Britain. That so many people could lose their lives in one block of newly-renovated council flats shocked the entire country, shock that turned to anger when it became clear that the fire had spread up a thick layer of external plastic foam insulation covered in plastic-filled panels.

The disaster was also a wake-up call; a deadly warning that something has to be seriously wrong with fire safety regulation and enforcement in Britain. If so many people could die in Grenfell Tower, how can anyone be certain that their own home, school, hospital or workplace is safe?

Our investigation, conducted over the past four months, has attempted to answer that question, and it has exposed some disturbing issues.

People take part in a silent march for Grenfell Tower fire victims in west London

Image: Seventy-one people died in the Grenfell Tower fire in west London

Even before the first bodies had been removed from Grenfell Tower, senior figures in the fire safety sector began revealing a number of uncomfortable truths: they knew plastic insulation was storing up problems; they had suspected a disaster would happen; and many of them had been telling the Government for years that the building regulation and control system was not fit for purpose.

And some went further; claiming that elements of the plastics industry were not only helping to write the rules that require more insulation to be fitted to buildings, but were also trying to silence people who questioned whether plastic insulation was safe.

Time after time we were told the plastic insulation industry was highly litigious, that speaking out about its fire safety was impossible, and that while the story should be told, no-one would go on camera. Eventually we found a former government scientist who agreed to talk, on condition of anonymity, about the pressures he faced. He said threats to sue him had made him unwell.

“If you’ve got no [legal] insurance you lose your house,” he said. “It was a worrying time and they were quite famous for it – people knew this was the way they reacted.” He says he doesn’t think the work he did was influenced by the threats, but they had an effect: “I think perhaps more than anything else other people were silenced – by saying ‘Oh, you’d better not say anything about that, look what happened to him’,” he told us.

Members of the emergency services work on the middle floors of the charred remains of Grenfell Tower

Image: Grenfell was a defining tragedy in 21st century Britain

We have identified several other similar cases. Among them Rockwool, the main producer of the non-combustible mineral-based alternative to plastic insulation. Rockwool sent out videos in 2007 showing how their product doesn’t burn and how plastic insulation does. They were sued for trademark violation and malicious falsehood. Despite the falsehood claim being thrown out the legal action tied up Rockwool for years and cost them millions of pounds.

In 2013 an insurance firm set fire to plastic insulation panels to demonstrate that they burned more fiercely in real life us than they did in official tests and posted the video on YouTube. It might explain, they suggested, why hundreds of millions of pounds of fire damage had been caused in a spate of factory fires. They were immediately threatened with legal action and had to remove all references that could have identified the manufacturer.

And the week after the Grenfell Tower fire, six European plastic industry lobby groups complained in a letter to the respected publishers of a peer-reviewed paper on the dangers of toxic smoke from burning plastic insulation written by chemistry and fire safety expert Professor Anna Stec at the University of Central Lancashire. “We request that the article is withdrawn,” it said. “The consequences […] are enormous and could well lead to significant consequential losses.” It ended: “We feel you should consider this very seriously.”

The Government’s 2012 Green Deal launch report ‘Opportunities for Industry’ contains 126 mentions of ‘cost’ and 119 of ‘saving’, but nothing about fire safety.

Gerard Tubb, Sky News Correspondent

Professor Stec told us her employers are supportive but even vaguely-worded threats are stressful. “All the complaints, all the attacks are taken very seriously by my university,” she said. “It worries me at some point that if you’ve got complaints coming in on an annual basis the university will come out and say ‘how long do we have to handle that?'”

While legal threats were being made in private, the plastic insulation industry was openly advertising its role in writing the rules that govern the fitting of its products to millions of buildings across the country.

The main lobby group for the plastic insulation trade was, until November 2017, called the British Rigid Urethane Foam Manufacturers’ Association [BRUFMA]. Partly in response to Grenfell Tower – or what it refers to as “events of this year” – BRUFMA changed its name to the Insulation Manufacturers Association.

They advertise that they are “influencing UK and local Government, specifying authorities, relevant approval and certification bodies,” and have “high level involvement in the drafting and regular revision of British and European standards [and] the Building Regulations.” Its members are promised the “opportunity to influence Government bodies and NGOs” and “direct input into relevant British Standards committees.”

How that influence works in practice is exposed by examination of Government efforts to meet the UK’s climate change commitments. Since the Kyoto agreement in 1997 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, successive governments have created rules about how new and refurbished buildings must be insulated to reduce heat loss.

A screengrab of the Celotex website advertising the properties of the insulating material RS5000

Image: The Celotex website advertising the properties of the insulating material RS5000

In 2011 the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) turned to the insulation industry for help, inviting representatives onto a Green Deal committee to come up with ways to push more insulation into homes. We discovered that of the 10 firms and construction industry groups on that committee, four were members of BRUFMA. One of them was Celotex, the firm whose plastic insulation would be fitted to the outside of Grenfell Tower four years later.

Celotex technical director Rob Warren was a leading committee member who made his intentions clear on a now-deleted company web page. Under the heading “Celotex enter government,” he said his position on the DECC committee meant he was “working inside government” to “shape this critical policy enabling the insulation industry to maximise the benefits.” Construction expert Simon Hay who was also on the committee told us he was aware of the agenda: “The point from the insulation companies was that they were going to sell a lot more insulation,” he said

A few years later Celotex revealed that the rules the plastics industry helps to write are key to company profits. Trade magazine Urethanes Technology International reported in 2015 that Warren had told them regulatory change was the “greatest driver” of plastic insulation sales. Without new regulations he was reported as saying: “You cannot give insulation away and the public are not really interested.”

Building control was opened up to competition, pitting private building inspectors against council officers in what one architect said was an ‘extremely stupid’ form of privatisation.

Nick Stylianou, Sky News Producer

But while new guidance and legislation led to a doubling of the market value of the main plastic insulation products in the UK between 2012 and 2016, efforts to insulate buildings rarely considered fire safety. Simon Hay who sat alongside Celotex and the other insulation firms on the DECC committee says he doesn’t recall fire being mentioned in any of the meetings. The government’s 2012 Green Deal launch report “Opportunities for Industry” contains 126 mentions of “cost” and 119 of “saving”, but nothing about fire safety.

Several fire safety experts have told us it was Part L of the building regulations which deal with heat loss that had a significant impact on the fire safety of buildings of all sizes. Niall Rowan from the Passive Fire Protection Association told us: “Due to the green agenda we’ve had a push to insulate buildings and the easiest and cheapest way to insulate was using these combustible materials […] our eye was off the ball.”

While one government department was increasing demand for combustible plastic products, the government department responsible for Part B of the regulations, dealing with fire safety, was being warned that the increasing use of plastics was increasing the risk of fires and the regulations were not good enough.

When plastic cladding on Garnock Court flats in Ayrshire caught fire in 1999, killing a man and injuring five other people, a parliamentary inquiry reported that building regulations were “far from being totally adequate.”

Police helmet camera footage shows Inside the devastated Grenfell Tower

Video: Inside Grenfell Tower

In 2009 plastic insulation burned on Lakanal House in London, killing six people and injuring 20. The coroner wrote to the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) in 2013 saying the building regulations were “a most difficult document to use” and calling for changes to include “clear” and “intelligible” guidance. The regulations were not changed.

Perhaps most puzzling of all, DCLG has refused to let us read 54 submissions they received in a 2010 consultation into how the fire safety rules needed to change. When we used the Freedom of Information Act to try to read them our application was refused on the grounds that releasing them was “not in the public interest.”

One of the submissions was from insurance industry trade group the Fire Protection Association (FPA) who sent us a copy. “Urgent research is required”, it warned the government, into whether the building regulations were “fit for purpose.” It said “building regulations enforcement is not effective” with inspectors turning up “less frequently if at all,” and ministers “should act.”

Jonathan O’Neill, managing director of the FPA, told us he has seen other submissions sent in at the same time from other experts who independently warned DCLG that they must act urgently to review the fire safety regulations.

A system of self-certification by building owners is weaker than a system of certification by a fire officer, somebody whose interest is directly to make sure his men and women fire officers don’t die in fighting fires.

Technical expert, Ian Abley

Amid the lack of building regulation review there were some significant regulatory changes. Building control – the enforcement arm of the fire safety system – was opened up to competition, pitting private building inspectors against council officers in what one architect told us was an “extremely stupid” form of privatisation.

Then the Regulatory Reform Order 2005 scrapped fire certificates for buildings, leaving landlords responsible for ensuring fire risk assessments are carried out. Technical expert Ian Abley said it was a significant weakening of fire safety protection: “A system of self-certification by building owners is weaker than a system of certification by a fire officer, somebody whose interest is directly to make sure his men and women fire officers don’t die in fighting fires,” he said. “There are holes in the regulatory reform order that don’t necessarily include the outside of a block of flats – which is Grenfell.”

Increasing pressure from the construction industry to use new insulation products coming into the market eventually led to some architects, developers and contractors making mistakes.

Niall Rowan, who has four decades of experience in the fire safety sector, described the failure to reform the regulations as “kind of creating a house of cards.” He said the lack of robust official guidance led to individuals deciding “I’m assessing that that’s OK, this document says that’s OK, and other people say well that authority and this authority say it’s OK so I can say it’s OK.”

Rowan admitted that eventually it became an open secret that a disaster was looming. “The passive fire industry [has] been worried that someday we would have a fire with large loss of life because of what we know what goes on in buildings and design that it not adequate,” he said.

Performers walk past graffiti marking the Grenfell tragedy

Image: Notting Hill performers walk past graffiti marking the tragedy

Throughout all the changes to the energy-saving Part L of the building regulations – three major revisions since 2010 – and the lack of changes to the fire safety Part B – none in the past 12 years – the government has relied on fire safety advice from a group which also makes money from the plastics industry.

BRE, formerly the national Building Research Establishment, was privatised in 1997 and made to pay its way, with the plastics industry providing a significant revenue stream. In 2005, following the 1999 Garnock Court fire, BRE helped the government to manage the risk from plastic insulation and cladding by creating a fire test called BS 8414.

Twelve years later it remains the only facility in the western hemisphere capable of conducting the test. Although BRE won’t say how much it has earned from BS 8414, its biggest plastic insulation client told us privately that BRE is currently being paid up to a million pounds a year.

After all the warnings from inside and outside the construction industry about the problems being caused by plastic insulation products BRE told the government that the building regulations could cope. Under a rolling contract from DCLG to “investigate issues that may have implications for building regulations,” BRE reported in April 2016 that on high rise buildings there was “an increase in the volume of potential combustible materials being applied.”

It said “A number of significant fires… have demonstrated the potential risks,” but advised: “with the exception of one or two unfortunate cases, there is currently no evidence from BRE Global’s fire investigations for DCLG to suggest that current building regulation recommendations, to limit vertical fire spread up the exterior of high rise buildings, are failing in their purpose.”

I’m afraid there will be buildings that are unsafe, and that must be a worry for people who are falling asleep in them.

Simon Hay, architect

The report told ministers that building controls, which BRE has influenced since 1948, were “adequate”.

The industry lobbying, the attempts to silence critics, the rules requiring more insulation, and the failure to heed warnings about the creaking building regulations have created what one respected expert has described as a fire safety crisis.

Simon Hay, who sat on the DECC committee in 2011, is an architect who worked inside the cladding industry and is now an expert witness with litigation services firm Diales. Since the Grenfell Tower disaster he has been commissioned to inspect high and low rise buildings and has found significant fire safety issues that had previously been missed. “These are not on anybody’s radar as yet,” he said, “I would say in all the investigations I’ve carried out I’ve found deficiencies.”

We asked him if he would describe the state of fire safety in Britain’ buildings as a crisis. “I think I would describe this as a crisis,” he told us. “I think fire safety is absolutely vital, and it’s not just about the premises that catch fire, it’s also about the fact that people should be able to live in their dwellings in the reasonable knowledge that they are safe in the sense that fire might break out.

“I’m afraid there will be buildings that are unsafe, and that must be a worry for people who are falling asleep in them.”

Many held flags to remember those lost in the Grenfell blaze

Image: Many held flags to remember those lost in the Grenfell blaze

In response to the points we raised, BRE told us it “works with multiple partners across various sectors, including government, the emergency services and the private sector,” and said it is “working to improve the built environment through research and the provision of testing and certification services” which are “audited by the UK’s national accreditation body”.

Celotex told us that “because issues fall within the remit of the Grenfell Tower inquiry” it is “unable to provide any further information” but is offering “full cooperation with the ongoing investigations”.

A DCLG spokesperson said: “Nothing is more important than keeping people safe. After the coroner’s investigation into the Lakanal House Fire in 2013, government took action to implement all the recommendations,” and is “continuing to work on updating our fire safety guidance.”

And the Insulation Manufacturers Association says it “feeds into any building regulations reviews through all the usual public channels” and denied it or its members have used legal action to silence critics.

Grenfell Tower is still a crime scene and the Metropolitan Police says there are reasonable grounds to suspect offences of corporate manslaughter.

Sir Martin Moore-Bick has promised his public inquiry will “get at the truth” of what caused the fire, and Dame Judith Hackitt is conducting a review of building regulations and fire safety.

But it is far from clear whether anyone is asking why, with so little debate, so much material that burns is still being added to Britain’s buildings.

:: The Grenfell victims

  • Tony Disson, 65

    The 65-year-old retired lorry driver had lived on the 10th floor of Grenfell Tower for eight years.

    After getting trapped inside his flat, the great-grandfather reportedly called a friend and said: “Tell my sons that I love them.”

    He lost contact with his family at about 3am.

    In a statement, Mr Disson’s family described him as a “real family man”.

    They said: “Tony was the most generous person you could ever meet, he didn’t have much but would always be there to help people.”

    Mr Disson is survived by four sons, six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. A sixth grandchild was due in September.

    He was laid to rest a mile from the tower in Ladbroke Grove at a ceremony in June attended by London Mayor Sadiq Khan.

  • Ali Yawar Jafari, 82

    Mr Jafari lived on the 10th floor and tried to escape the tower with his wife and daughter when the fire broke out.

    They got in a lift but Mr Jafari got out on the 10th floor after suffering breathing difficulties.

    His son, Hamid Ali Jafari, said his father lost contact with his mother and sister, who lived with him on the 10th floor.

    An inquest heard he was pulled from the building by firefighters but pronounced dead at the scene.

    The provisional cause of his death was given as “inhalation of fire fumes” with a second cause of coronary and hypertensive heart disease.

    Mr Jafari’s family said he was “loved and will be greatly missed by his family and the wider community”.

  • Abdeslam Sebbar, 77

    Mr Sebbar’s remains were found in his flat on the 11th floor.

    The 77-year-old was identified by DNA.

    He died from the inhalation of fumes.

  • Denis Murphy, 56

    Denis Murphy lived on the 14th floor of Grenfell Tower.

    During the blaze, the 56-year-old called his nephew Stevan Racz to say he was trapped.

    His family spoke of an “agonising 10 weeks” before he was formally identified.

    In a statement, Mr Murphy’s family said: “The pain, loss and sorrow we feel is indescribable and we have been left devastated with a gaping hole in our hearts that can never be filled.

    “To us he was an inspiration and an amazing, selfless, caring person and we feel lucky and blessed that he was part of our family, and his warmth and love will stay with us forever.

    “What really matters to us is what he stood for, family, friends, community, loyalty and love, and our lives will never be the same without him.”

  • Zainab Deen, 32

    The 32-year-old, who lived on the 14th floor of Grenfell Tower, has been formally identified as one of the victims.

    She was on the phone to her brother until 4am.

    Her parents, Zainu and Maria Deen, confirmed their daughter had died.

    Ms Deen’s two-year-old son Jeremiah was also killed in the blaze.

    An inquest recorded her provisional cause of death as “being consistent with the effects of fire”.

    Originally from Sierra Leone, Ms Deen was described as a “beautiful, loving lady” when a group of friends gathered near Grenfell Tower to pay tribute to her.

    Isha Thomas, a friend of Ms Deen, said she believed she had followed advice not to leave the tower block.

  • Jeremiah Deen, 2

    The two-year-old was reported missing following the fire, and was formally identified as a victim at the beginning of August 2017.

    Zainu and Maria Deen, the toddler’s grandparents, paid tribute to Jeremiah and said: “You spent a moment in our arms, but you will last a lifetime in our hearts.”

    An inquest heard that Jeremiah’s remains were found alongside his mother Zainab, and he had been identified through DNA.

    The provisional cause of his death was “consistent with the effects of fire”.

  • Mohammad Alhajali, 23

    Mr Alhajali, a civil engineering student, lived on the 14th floor with his older brother Omar who managed to escape from the fire.

    Trapped inside the flat for two hours after being separated from his sibling, he called a friend in Syria, asking him to say goodbye to his family who he had been unable to reach.

    Mr Alhajali had fled Syria with his two brothers in 2014 to start a new life in London, studying at the University of West London. He had hoped to return one day to help the country.

    His friend lost contact with him at 5am. He sent one final message saying: “The fire is here now goodbye”.

    Mr Alhajali was the first victim of the Grenfell Tower fire to be identified.

    His body was found outside the building, and an inquest found that he died from injuries consistent with falling from a height.

    A family statement read at his funeral service a week after the fire and attended by London Mayor Sadiq Khan said he “loved London and the people he met here”.

    Mr Alhajali was “a loving and caring person”, the tribute said, who was “always showing support and solidarity for friends and family stuck back in Syria”.

  • Steve Power, 63

    The 63-year-old was reported to be reluctant to leave his two dogs, and is understood to have remained in his flat on the 15th floor.

    A local man who knew him told Sky News: “He wouldn’t leave his dogs and it cost him his life.”

    His daughter posted an appeal on Twitter as she searched for Mr Power.

  • Hamid Kani, 61

    The 61-year-old Iranian lived alone in flat 154 on the 15th floor of Grenfell Tower.

    However, his body was recovered on the 23rd floor – suggesting he fled upstairs in search of safety.

    In a statement, his family, who all live in Iran, said he would be remembered “for his wit, compassion and devotion to his family and friends”.

    They added: “No words can express our sorrow for his loss and the way he left us. He will always be part of our lives and his memory will live on.”

    His family said he struggled with hearing problems and wore hearing aids.

    An inquest was told he died of injuries “consistent with the effects of fire”.

  • Deborah Lamprell, 45

    Ms Lamprell, known as Debbie, lived on the 16th floor and worked front of house at Opera Holland Park.

    On the night of the fire, she sent a text message to her mother at around 11.30pm. That was the last that was heard from her.

    She was described by her mother as “a wonderful, precious daughter, always smiling and helping others”.

    To honour Deborah and other victims of the fire, Opera Holland Park held a special encore after a performance in July.

    Before the show a private memorial service was held for about 100 people, including family and performers at the venue.

    Michael Volpe, general director at the company, said she had worked for them for several years and described her as “a really valued member of staff”.

    He said: “Not only was she known to all of our patrons, she was really popular with all the singers, chorus and the orchestra and she had a lovely way about her.”

  • Marjorie Vital, 68

    Marjorie lived on the 16th floor of Grenfell Tower in a flat she shared with her son, Ernie. He was also killed in the blaze.

    She had lived there almost since the tower was built in the 70s and had worked in the textile industry for many years after coming to the UK from Dominica.

    Her family said: “She was a beautiful, joyful, independent, intelligent, kind-hearted, sensitive individual who dedicated her life to her children.”

  • Ernie Vital, 50

    Ernie had been staying with his mother, Marjorie, in her flat on the 16th floor. She also died in the fire.

    Ernie was formally identified on 23 August 2017. An inquest into his death opened on 30 August heard that his remains were found on the 23rd floor.

    He was identified through DNA.

    His family said he worked in the catering industry.

    “He was a creative individual who pursued a creative life. He was a proud, humble, mature and independent man,” his family said.

    “He was a loyal son and a law abiding citizen who maintained good relationships with all those he met in society.

    “He will be remembered as a kind, sensitive and caring person with a warm hearted smile.”

  • Joseph Daniels, 69

    Joseph Daniels lived on the 16th floor of Grenfell Tower.

    He reportedly suffered from dementia and was confused so could not be persuaded to move by his son to leave the building.

    He was identified through DNA.

    An inquest heard he died from injuries consistent with the effects of fire.

  • Sheila Smith, 84

    The 84-year-old’s body was recovered on the 16th floor of the tower, where she had lived for 34 years.

    Sheila had two sons, six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren and was said to be a “very active and well-respected” member of the community.

    Her family said: “Sheila was cycling around London, performing yoga daily and swimming regularly in the Kensington Leisure Centre until she was 80 years old.

    “As a family we are heartbroken as to this senseless tragedy that took her far too early, and will do all we can to honour her name.”

    Friend Gary, who had known her for 20 years, said she was a “truly beautiful person” and she was “love, pure and simple”.

    “We shared a great interest in history, Shakespeare, the Knights Templar, et cetera and she had a great spirituality about her.”

    An inquest opening heard she died from “the effects of the fire”.

  • Kamru Miah, 79

    Mr Miah lived on the 17th floor with his wife Rabeya Begum, their daughter, and two sons.

    He had difficulty walking and his grown-up children stayed in the tower because they knew their parents were not mobile enough to escape.

    They had been housed in Grenfell Tower about a year before the fire.

    All five of them died.

  • Rabeya Begum, 64

    Mrs Begum lived on the 17th floor with her husband Kamru Miah and their three children, who all died together.

    They were said to be on the phone with relatives throughout the blaze.

    A nephew, Abdul, was called by his cousin Husna who begged him to help them escape.

    He said he arrived and saw his uncle screaming from the window, but could not do anything to help.

  • Mohammed Hanif, 26

    Mohammed Hanif was on the 17th floor of Grenfell Tower.

    He reportedly spoke to his relative on the phone during the fire, telling him his “time had come”.

    He was with his brother and sister, who all could have tried to escape, but they stayed and died together with their elderly parents.

  • Mohammed Hamid, 29

    Mohammed Hamid stayed in the flat on the 17th floor with his parents and siblings.

    One of his relatives posted a tribute on Facebook saying: “He had the chance to get out of the building but stayed with his mum n dad n brother n sister.. knowing he wouldn’t live.”

    A fourth sibling, Hakim, is reportedly the only member of the immediate family still alive.

    He had moved out after getting married.

    He last saw his family a few hours before the fire.

  • Husna Begum, 22

    Husna’s body was reportedly found near the lifts on the 17th floor.

    She and her two brothers stayed with their parents Kamru and Rabeya in the burning building where they all died.

    Husna, who had been due to get married, was buried beside her mother, Rabeya.

  • Khadija Khalloufi, 52

    Mrs Khalloufi died after she became separated from her husband, Sabah Abdullah, as they tried to escape from their flat on the 17th floor.

    Due to the crush and panic in the stairwell, they were split up between the 16th and 15th floors.

    Mr Abdullah survived, suffering cuts to his feet after running out in his bedclothes. He was granted an emergency passport to attend her funeral in Morocco after his identification was lost in the blaze.

    The couple had lived in Grenfell Tower together for their entire 30-year marriage.

    Mrs Khalloufi died from inhalation of fumes, an inquest heard.

  • Vincent Chiejina, 60

    Mr Chiejina lived on the 17th floor and was identified by his DNA.

    The 60-year-old’s provisional cause of death was given as “consistent with the effects of fire”.

  • Isaac Paulos, 5

    The schoolboy’s body was discovered on the 13th floor – five levels below the flat where he lived with his family.

    An inquest heard he vanished in dense smoke as his family tried to escape, and choked on fumes from the fire.

    In a statement, Isaac’s family said they would “miss our kind, energetic, generous little boy”.

    They added: “He was such a good boy who was loved by his friends and family.

    “We will miss him forever, but we know God is looking after him now and that he is safe in heaven.”

  • Berkti Haftom, 29

    Berkti and her 12-year-old son Biruk, who was also died in the blaze, lived in flat 155 on the 18th floor of the building.

    Her remains were recovered from the 21st floor and a provisional cause of death was given as “being consistent with the effects of fire”.

    Berkti and her son reportedly helped 12-year-old victim Jessica Urbano by lending her a phone to call her mother, who was not in the tower at the time of the blaze.

    The 29-year-old’s family described her as a “generous, caring, loving mother, partner, sister, aunty and friend” who will be “missed by us all forever”.

    They added: “Berkti and Biruk left an everlasting legacy full of lovely memories and their contagious laughter and charisma will live in our hearts forever.

    “We are deeply hurt and heartbroken our angles were taken from us so cruelly, so young. We will not rest until justice is served.”

  • Biruk Haftom, 12

    The schoolboy is thought to have lived in flat 155 on the 18th floor of the building with his mother Berkti, who was also among those who died in the blaze.

    His family said: “Biruk was a loving, pure hearted boy, wise beyond his years and known for his politeness, kind heart and his love for his family and friends.

    “Berkti and Biruk left an everlasting legacy full of lovely memories and their contagious laughter and charisma will live in our hearts forever.

    “We are deeply hurt and heartbroken our angels were taken from us so cruelly, so young. We will not rest until justice is served!”

    Biruk was described by his science teacher as an “academic star” who was “really going places”.

  • Sakina Afrasehabi, 65

    Sakina lived with her younger sister Fatima in Grenfell Tower. They both died in the blaze.

    Ms Afrasehabi’s Iranian family have said she was disabled and could only move with a walking stick – but she had no choice but to live on the 18th floor of the building.

    Once the fire broke out in the early hours of the morning, she called her son and told him they were in trouble.

    However, their phone connection cut out shortly afterwards.

    She was formally identified as a victim of the blaze on 22 August 2017.

    Her family said: “Sakina was a loving mother of five, who is much missed by all of us. She was completely selfless in all she did and always put other people first.”

    They later said: “She was forced to live there because she had no other option. “On a good day she couldn’t come down 18 floors – but in the fire and smoke?”

  • Fatima Afrasehabi, 59

    The Iranian and her older sister Sakina lived on the 18th floor and they were together as the fire raged. Fatima’s five children live in Iran.

    Her nephew Shahrokh, a 48-year-old taxi driver, said he spoke on the phone to his aunt as the fire spread to upper floors.

    He has told reporters an Afghan man helped his disabled mother, Sakina Afrasehabi, to the 23rd floor where he lived, to get her away from the blaze.

    He said his aunt pleaded with him on the phone to seek help. In the final minutes, she was more quiet and then the phone disconnected.

    Fatima’s sister was confirmed as a victim on 22 August 2017 and inquests into both of their deaths opened the following day.

  • Mohamednur Tuccu, 44

    The security guard and his wife and daughter were breaking Ramadan fast with friends when the blaze broke out.

    He was reported missing along with his wife Amal Ahmedin and their three-year-old daughter Amaya after visiting relatives in Grenfell Tower, his employer previously said.

    He texted his cousin at about 9pm on the evening of the fire, but his family did not hear from him again after this.

    His body was recovered close to a leisure centre near the tower block, where he was found with multiple injuries.

    Mr Tuccu worked at Red Consultancy, and was a month away from being rewarded for his decade’s service at the company.

    An inquest at Westminster Coroner’s Court found his provisional cause of death was the inhalation of fire fumes.

  • Amal Ahmedin, 35

    Amal is believed to have lived on the 19th floor of Grenfell Tower with Mohamednur Tuccu and their 3-year-old daughter Amaya.

    Her body was found next to her daughter’s in the lobby of the 23rd floor. Mo Tuccu was found dead on the ground outside the tower.

    A family statement said: “This has been a very distressing time for us as a family, but we are relieved that Amal, Amaya and Amna (Mahmud Idris) have been identified following the tragic fire. They will now be laid to rest.”

    The inquest in to Amal’s death heard that the bodies of her and her daughter had to be identified by “anthropology and secondary supporting evidence”.

  • Amaya Tuccu-Ahmedin, 3

    Amaya lived with her mother Amal Ahmedin and her father Mo Tuccu on the 19th floor of Grenfell Tower. All three died in the blaze.

    Amaya’s remains were discovered next to her mother’s in the lobby of the 23rd floor. Her father was found dead on the ground by a nearby sports centre.

    In a statement her family said: “This has been a very distressing time for us as a family, but we are relieved that Amal, Amaya and Amna (Mahmud Idris) have been identified following the tragic fire. They will now be laid to rest.”

    The coroner said Amaya was one of a number of victims identified by “anthropology and secondary supporting evidence”.

  • Eslah Elgwahry, 64

    Ms Elgwahry, who was also known as Suhar, lived with her 27-year-old daughter Mariem on the 19th floor.

    Soon after the fire, a friend of her daughter shared an appeal on social media, writing: “Last someone heard from her was 2.30am, she was with her mum.”

    Ms Elgwahry’s remains were found on the 23rd floor, four floors higher than her flat.

    She was identified through her dental records, with the cause of death given as “consistent with the effects of fire”.

    Her daughter also died in the fire.

  • Mariem Elgwahry, 27

    Ms Elgwahry and her mother Eslah, also known as Suhar, lived on the 19th floor of Grenfell Tower.

    Friends last heard from the 27-year-old marketing manager at 2.30am on the night of the blaze.

    The inquest into her death opened on 23 August and heard that she was found dead next to her mother on the 23rd floor.

    She was identified by dental records.

  • Mary Mendy, 52

    Also known as Sissy, Gambia-born Ms Mendy was with her daughter, artist Khadija Saye, on the 20th floor of the tower.

    She is believed to have been visiting her daughter at the time.

    Her sister said in a tribute: “Your heart was pure, your soul was one of a kind. You will be missed for a lifetime.”

    Ms Mendy was found in the lobby on the 13th floor and identified from dental records.

    She died from smoke inhalation.

  • Khadija M Saye, 24

    Also known as Ya-Haddy Sisi Saye, the British-Gambian artist and photographer was on the 20th floor with her mother.

    At the time of the fire, her work was part of an exhibition at the Venice Biennale, and has since been displayed at the Tate Britain.

    She was due to appear in a BBC documentary about her work.

    he last tweeted on 10 May, saying: “It’s been a real journey, but mama, I’m an artist exhibiting in Venice and the blessings are abundant!”

    Her friend, Tottenham MP David Lammy, called her “a wonderful young woman” and “a talented artist”.

    Ms Saye was found in a hallway on the ninth floor, with her cause of death listed as “inhalation of fire fumes and burns”.

    Her mother, Mary Mendy – also known as Sissy Mendy – is thought to have been visiting her daughter when the fire broke out. She died on the 13th floor.

    The Khadija Saye Memorial Fund has been launched by her mentor, the artist Nicole Green, to fund opportunities for young, emerging artists.

  • Jessica Urbano Ramirez, 12

    Jessica was at home on the 20th floor of the tower block.

    She made desperate calls for help to her parents, who were not there at the time of the blaze.

    Mrs Urbano said she told her daughter to run as fast as possible down the stairs.

    A family statement said: “Our little girl was loving, kind-hearted and caring. She brought joy to everyone who met her and her laugh was contagious.”

    Her family and friends celebrated what would have been her 13th birthday in October 2017.

  • Farah Hamdan, 31

    The 31-year-old was married to Omar Belkadi, who also died in the Grenfell Tower fire.

    They lived on the 20th floor of the building with their children.

    She was found dead holding her youngest daughter Leena in a stairwell between the 19th and 20th floors.

    The inquest into her death heard she died from smoke inhalation.

  • Omar Belkadi, 32

    Omar Belkadi lived on the 20th floor of Grenfell Tower with his wife and three daughters.

    Four members of the family, including Mr Belkadi, died. Just one of his daughters survived the blaze.

    Mr Belkadi died from inhaling fire fumes.

  • Leena Belkadi, six months

    Youngest daughter of Omar Belkadi and Farah Hamdan, Leena died from inhalation of fumes.

    At just six months old, she was the youngest victims of the Grenfell Tower fire.

    She was found dead in her mother’s arms in a stairwell between the 19th and 20th floors.

  • Malek Belkadi, 7

    Eldest daughter of Omar Belkadi and Farah Hamdan, seven-year-old Malek initially survived the fire.

    She was found alive on the 20th floor but died later at St Mary’s Hospital, west London.

    Her cause of death was inhalation of fumes.

    Her parents and her baby sister Leena also died. A second sister, six-year-old Tazmin, survived.

  • Abdul Aziz El Wahabi, 52

    Abdul Aziz lived on the 21st floor with his wife and three children.

    His youngest son, Medhi, was just eight years old.

    His body was recovered from the 21st floor, along with his wife’s. His three children also died in the blaze.

    Mr El Wahabi’s sister, Hana, told reporters she spoke to him after the fire broke out, but it had not reached the top of the block at that point.

    “He said he had been told to stay inside, stay in one room together and put towels under the door,” she said.

    “I told him to leave. He said he was going to come. Then I called him and he said there was too much smoke.

    “The last time I saw him they were waving out the window. The last time I spoke to his wife, he was on the phone to the fire brigade.”

  • Faouzia El Wahabi, 41

    Faouzia lived on the 21st floor with her husband Abdul Aziz, their sons, Yasin, 20, and Medhi, eight, and their daughter Nur Huda, 15.

    Her body was recovered from the 21st floor, along with her husband’s.

    Her three children also died in the fire.

    Mrs El Wahabi’s niece later said: “They died in a building that should not have got to that extent to burn in that way – and that’s something we’re going to have to live with forever and it’s scary,”

  • Yasin El Wahabi, 20

    Yasin lived in flat 182 on the 21st floor with his parents, brother and sister.

    His extended family said: “Yasin was a lovable, bubbly and caring young man.

    “He would lend his hand to anyone who asked for help. He was loved by so many and his contagious smile will always be etched on our minds and hearts.”

  • Nur Huda El Wahabi, 16

    Nur Huda lived with her family on the 21st floor, in flat 182.

    Her parents and brothers Yasin, 20, and Mehdi, eight, also all died in the blaze.

    In a statement her family said: “Nur Huda was a lovable, smart and kind person. She had a lot of potential and that can be recognised in her recent GCSE exam results.

    “We are proud of her and will continue on remembering her and all our family and friends who have died in this tragedy.”

  • Medhi El Wahabi, 8

    Medhi lived on the 21st floor with his mum and dad, Faouzia and Abdul Aziz, who died in the blaze.

    His elder brother Yasin, 20, and his teenage sister Nur Hada have also been confirmed dead.

    A statement from his family said: “Mehdi was a calm and friendly young boy who loved his family very much.

    “He was loved by staff and pupils at his school who held a beautiful memorial and made a plaque in memory of him.”

  • Logan Gomes, stillborn

    Unborn baby Logan Gomes has officially been recorded by police as a victim of the Grenfell Tower fire.

    His mother Andreia, who was seven months pregnant, lived on the 21st floor with her husband and two children.

    They all managed to escape but Logan was stillborn in hospital on 14 June.

    His father, Marco, told the Sunday Telegraph doctors opted to deliver the baby after his heart stopped beating to ensure Andreia did not contract an infection.

    He said it was a “very traumatic time”.

  • Raymond ‘Moses’ Bernard, 63

    Mr Bernard, known to friends as Moses, lived on the 21st floor of the tower and often stayed with his partner, Karen McMillan, on a different floor of the block.

    He was discovered in his flat with the body of one of the youngest victims, 12-year-old Biruk Haftom.

    He was reportedly a popular character in the area, often seen out walking his King Charles spaniel, Marley.

    His friend, Trish, said: “He was always telling people to be good to each other and it’s devastating to think anything bad could have happened.”

    Another friend, Michael, said: “There are a lot of people grieving for him, and he was a very loving man.”

    His family said: “Gone but not forgotten, you are so dearly loved by us all and will sadly be missed by many. May you rest in eternal peace, with love always.”

  • Ligaya Moore, 78

    Ligaya, from the Philippines, had been a resident of Grenfell Tower for more than 40 years. She had lived alone in her flat on the 21st floor since the death of her husband some years earlier.

    A body was found inside her flat early in the investigation but it took more than four months to identify her remains.

    In a statement her family said: “43 years ago, Aunt Ligaya, DITE, as we fondly called her, lived her dream – to live and work in London.

    “She endured being away from family – not able to attend her mother’s funeral – but in exchange of all the loneliness and homesickness, she met the love of her life, Jim Moore, a British national, had a new family, acquired new friends, and built a new life in London.

    “But the dream turned into nightmare on that fateful night of June 14, when the Grenfell Tower was consumed in flames. At this time, she was already living by herself in this building, as her husband has passed away several years back.

    “The jolly, bubbly person, the lady who loves to dance and who laughed her heart out, succumbed to a fire which turned her laughter into silence.”

    Her grandson, Nico Purificacion, called her “an admirable woman”.

    He said: “Our family loves her so much.

    “She’s very fun to be with despite her age. So innocent yet very straightforward.

    “She’s been in London for a very long time. She visits us here in the Philippines once in a while.”

  • Nura Jemal, 35

    The mother of three lived on the 22nd floor with her husband, Hashim Kedir, and their children.

    On the night of the fire she called friends saying: “The fire is here, I’m dying.”

    She was described by her family as “beloved, positive-minded, devout and courageous”.

    A statement on behalf of her family said: “You appreciated even the smallest things in life. And your joy was contagious. Being around you could lighten up anyone’s day in a matter of seconds.”

    Friends described her as “vibrant, full of life and positive-minded”.

    Ms Jemal was recovered on the 22nd floor and identified by her dental records, with her cause of death given as “consistent with the effects of fire”.

  • Hashim Kedir, 44

    The father of the Hashim family lived on the 22nd floor with his wife, Nura Jemal, and three children.

    His sister described him as her “role model”, saying he was “giving and sharing until his last day”.

    She described him as “making friends so easily; age, gender, religion, ethnicity or social status didn’t matter”.

    His niece said: “You travelled around the world and you were never afraid to take risks and try something new… Thank you for being the best uncle in the world.”

    Friends described him as “everybody’s favourite in the family” who could “make friends so easily”.

    Mr Hashim was identified using DNA, with his cause of death given as “consistent with the effects of fire”.

  • Yahya Hashim, 13

    The schoolboy lived on the 22nd floor with his two younger siblings and parents.

    His aunt described him as her “most kind, handsome, pure-hearted, sweet nephew”.

    She said: “Everyone that met you used to fall in love with your politeness and pure-heartedness”.

    Friends said Yahya was “kind, handsome, pure-hearted and sweet”.

    The sports-loving teen had been attending a taekwondo class with his little brother just an hour before the fire.

    His dream was to grow up and become a religious education teacher.

    Yahya was identified through dental records after his remains were recovered from the 22nd floor.

  • Firdaws Hashim, 12

    The Kensington Aldridge Academy pupil lived with her two brothers and parents on the 22nd floor of the block.

    Her family described her as “intelligent, wise, eloquent and beautiful” with “the voice of an angel”.

    Sports charity leader Sean Mendez said “she naturally took a leadership role around the other kids and was always looking after them”.

    Two months before the fire Firdaws had taken part in Comic Relief’s Big Debate event – where she was presented with an award by Microsoft founder Bill Gates.

    Judges said of her speech: “Firdaws was recognised for her passion and the clarity with which she spoke – everyone who attended the event was touched by her energy and enthusiasm.”

    Firdaws was identified using DNA and her cause of death was given as “consistent with the effects of fire”.

  • Yaqub Hashim, 6

    Yaqub lived on the 22nd floor with his parents, Nura Jemal and Hashim Kedir, and his brother and sister. They all died in the fire.

    The six-year-old had taken a taekwondo class with his older brother just hours before the blaze broke out.

    His extended family described him as an “energetic, sporty, funny, smart and cute boy”.

    In a statement paying tribute, his family said: “The energy you had, oh my! A minute at your presence wouldn’t pass without laughing; just following your movement was enough.

    “You were in a rush all the time. Thinking about it now; it feels like you were trying to use all the energy you had and you didn’t want to waste a second of your unfairly short lifetime.

    “We went to visit your school: funny, hilarious, honey with a big smile, a great boy and a kind friend were some of the words that your friends used to describe you.

    “We all could feel how much they miss you from the touching hugs we received from them. One of the girls even remembered the names of your nieces; she said that you used to talk a lot about them.

    “The whole family misses you terribly our sweet and lively boy Yaqub.”

  • Sirria Choucair, 60

    The 60-year-old grandmother was found on the 22nd floor of Grenfell Tower, where she lived.

    Sirria died along with her daughter Nadia, son-in-law Bassem, and her three grandchildren.

  • Bassem Choucair, 40

    The 40-year-old father was found on the 22nd floor of the tower block.

    He lived there with his wife Nadia, mother-in-law Sirria and three daughters.

    Bassem’s sister-in-law, Sawsan, spoke to him on the phone when the fire started.

    She said: “It was just two seconds, he said ‘yeah’ and there was lots of screaming in the background.”

  • Nadia Choucair, 33

    The 33-year-old nursery worker and mother of three lived on the 22nd floor of Grenfell Tower with her husband, Bassem, mother Sirria and their daughters: Mierna, 13, Fatima, 11, and Zeinab, three.

    They all died in the blaze.

    Her brother Nabil says his trauma has been compounded by a vacuum of official information.

    He said: “We want to know… we’re trying to find out everything we can about what last information there is about our family.

    “It’s very important. It’s the only thing that we have left.”

  • Fatima Choucair, 11

    The 11-year-old was found on the 22nd floor of Grenfell Tower, where she lived with her family.

    An inquest was told that Fatima was identified by her dental records.

    She died alongside her parents, grandmother and sisters.

  • Mierna Choucair, 13

    The 13-year-old was found on the 22nd floor of the tower block, where she lived.

    Mierna died along with her father Bassem, mother Nadia and two sisters.

  • Zeinab Choucair, 3

    Three-year-old Zeinab lived on the 22nd floor of Grenfell Tower with her mother, father, two sisters and grandmother.

    They all died in the blaze and their remains were recovered from the floor on which they lived.

    Zeinab’s aunt Sawsan spoke to her father when the fire started.

    She said: “It was just two seconds, he says ‘yeah’ and there was lots of screaming in the background.”

  • Marco Gottardi, 27

    The Italian architectural assistant, who worked in east London, lived on the 23rd floor with his girlfriend Gloria Trevisan.

    Mr Gottardi’s cousin posted a message on Facebook the day after the fire, writing: “I don’t have no news from them since last night and their mobile phones are off. I’m praying God they make it out safely.”

    During Mr Gottardi’s funeral in Venice, the bishop said: “Marco and Gloria were united in life. They are now in the sky close to each other and beside the Lord.”

    Mr Gottardi was identified by his dental records, with the cause of death given as “consistent with the effects of fire”.

  • Gloria Trevisan, 26

    The Italian architect lived on the 23rd floor with her boyfriend, Marco Gottardi.

    The pair had moved from Venice to London around four months before to look for jobs after graduating from the University of Padua.

    Ms Trevisan spent her final moments on the phone to her mother, telling her: “I had my whole life ahead of me. It’s not fair. I don’t want to die.” She was last heard from at 3.30am.

    She was identified by her dental records, with her cause of death given as “consistent with the effects of fire”.

  • Hesham Rahman, 57

    Mr Rahman lived by himself in a flat on the 23rd floor and was last in contact with his family at 3am on the night of the fire.

    He told them he could smell smoke, adding: “Don’t worry, as soon as I’m out I’ll let you know.

    “The police are coming to get me, I’ve spoken to them. It’s going to be okay.”

    He had diabetes which made it difficult for him to walk down stairs.

    In the days after the fire, his relatives put up posters and visited hospitals around the capital.

    At the time, Mr Rahman’s nephew Karim told Sky News: “We are preparing for the worst, of course we have to understand that, but there’s still hope.”

    An inquest into his death heard he was identified following dental examination.

  • Mohamed Neda, 57

    Mr Neda’s wife and son escaped to safety and were taken to hospital after the fire broke out.

    They said he had been on the top floor of the building trying to help people.

    The last contact with Mr Neda was at 3am on the night of the fire, when he phoned his nephew and told him he was stuck in the kitchen of his flat on the top floor.

    His body was found outside the tower block, and he died as a result of multiple injuries consistent with a fall.

  • Gary Maunders, 57

    Gary Maunders was found among the victims on the 23rd floor.

    The 57-year-old was identified through his dental records and the provisional cause of death was given as “consistent with the effects of fire”.

    He is believed to have been with his friend Deborah Lamprell, who lived on the 19th floor, was also named among the victims.

  • Fathia Ahmed, 71

    The 71-year-old pensioner, also known as Fathiya Alsanousi, was discovered on the 23rd floor and identified by her dental records.

    Her son Abufars Ibrahim, 39, and her daughter Isra Ibrahim, 33, also died in the blaze.

  • Abufars Ibrahim, 39

    The 39-year-old is believed to have lived on the 23rd floor of Grenfell Tower with his mother Fathia Ahmed, 71, and his sister Isra, 33.

    They were all killed in the blaze.

    An inquest heard he died from multiple injuries after falling, or jumping, from the building.

  • Isra Ibrahim, 33

    The 39-year-old is believed to have lived on the 23rd floor of Grenfell Tower with her 71-year-old mother Fathia Ahmed and 39-year-old brother Abufars.

    They were both also killed in the blaze.

    An inquest heard that her body was found on the floor where she lived.

  • Rania Ibrahim, 30

    Mother of two Rania Ibrahim, 30, uploaded a Facebook Live video as she was trapped at the top of the tower block.

    She was seen running into a smoke-filled corridor to seek help, then looking out of the window to the street below.

    Her friend Rahmana Rashid posted on Facebook: “Rania Ibrham my friend is missing from the grenfill tower, if you have seen her or have any news on her pls contact me.”

    Rania lived on the 23rd floor with her husband and her two daughters – Fethia, aged four, and three-year-old Hania.

    Rania and her daughters died in the blaze. Her husband was not in Grenfell Tower at the time of the blaze as he was away in Egypt.

    She was identified by her dental records.

  • Fethia Hassan, 4

    Fethia lived with her parents and three-year-old sister Hania on the 23rd floor of Grenfell Tower.

    Her mother, Rania Ibrahim, uploaded a Facebook Live video as she was trapped at the top of the tower block.

    Fethia, her mother and sister all died in the blaze. Her father was out of the country at the time.

  • Hania Hassan, 3

    Hania and her four-year-old sister Fethia lived with their parents on the 23rd floor of Grenfell Tower.

    Her mother, Rania Ibrahim, uploaded a Facebook Live video as they were trapped at the top of the tower block.

    Hania, Fethia and Rania all died in the blaze. Her father was out of the country at the time.

  • Amna Mahmud Idris, 27

    Ms Idris died in her 23rd floor flat alongside her cousin, Amal Ahmedin, her husband Mohamednur Tuccu and their daughter Amaya Tuccu-Ahmedin.

    The family are believed to have been visiting Ms Idris at the time.

    Ms Idris’ body was identified by DNA, with her provisional cause of death “consistent with the effects of fire”.

    Her family said: “This has been a very distressing time for us as a family but we are relieved that Amal, Amaya and Amna have been identified following the tragic fire.

    They will now be laid to rest.

  • Victoria King, 71

    Victoria lived in Grenfell Tower with her 40-year-old daughter Alexandra Atala.

    On 16 November 2017 they became the final two victims of the blaze to be identified.

    In a statement their family said: “We were devastated to hear of our sister, Vicky’s, fate, and that of her daughter, Alexandra, in the Grenfell Tower tragedy.

    “Some comfort can come from the knowledge that she and Alexandra were devoted to one another and spent so many mutually-supportive years together.

    “They died at each other’s side and now they can rest together in peace.

    “We will remember them always.”

  • Alexandra Atala, 40

    Alexandra lived in Grenfell Tower with her 71-year-old mother Victoria King.

    On 16 November 2017 they became the final two victims of the blaze to be identified.

    In a statement their family said: “We were devastated to hear of our sister, Vicky’s, fate, and that of her daughter, Alexandra, in the Grenfell Tower tragedy.

    “Some comfort can come from the knowledge that she and Alexandra were devoted to one another and spent so many mutually-supportive years together.

    “They died at each other’s side and now they can rest together in peace.

    “We will remember them always.”

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