Economy

Here's What These Victim Blaming Tweets About the Grenfell Tower Fire Are Missing

June 23rd 2017

By:
Danielle DeCourcey

Investigators released the the causes of the Grenfell Tower Fire, and it has sparked a rash of victim-blaming. Police say that the fire that killed at least 79 people in London was started by in a refrigerator, and was fed by cladding—or coating material—on the building, according to a BBC report.

Authorities are considering manslaughter charges, among others, investigator Detective Superintendent Fiona McCormack said, according to the New York Times. Though McCormack did not specify who may be facing those charges.

The news caused some people on social media to imply that the refrigerator's owner was to blame for the deadly fire.

The Daily Mail tweeted photos of the resident it claims to be the person who allegedly owned the refrigerator with the words "the man 'whose faulty fridge started Grenfell Tower inferno'." ATTN: had not independently confirmed that this is the person who owned the refrigerator.

The Daily Mail's tweet.

However, as other Twitter users pointed out, the fire's devastation was due to systemic failings, not the refrigerator's owner.

Officials failed the Grenfell Tower residents on several levels.

As ATTN: previously reported, critics of the fire said the building's management company and the local board in charge of the tower were aware about big safety concerns—including the cladding.

“It is a truly terrifying thought but the Grenfell Action Group firmly believe that only a catastrophic event will expose the ineptitude and incompetence of our landlord, the KCTMO,” a November 2016 complaint made by a group that represents the buildings residents reportedly read.

There were key safety concerns that likely lead to speak of the fire:

1. Residents of Grenfell Tower have said that there were no building-wide fire alarms or sprinkler systems.

Resident Fabio Freemantle said that that he walked all the way down 189 steps with his elderly neighbor after he saw the smoke in his hallway.

“I was woken that day by the smell of burning,” he told the Guardian. “There were no alarms and there’s no sprinkler system in the building or panic buttons. I got my elderly neighbor out of his flat and we walked all the way down the 189 steps. The smoke was so thick, we lost each other on the way down."

Some of the older high-rises in England are not fitted with sprinkler systems, according to the BBC. Grenfell Tower is reportedly one of those high-rises without such a system.

2. The building's cladding was faulty.

The cladding and insulation on the outside of Grenfell Tower reportedly failed safety tests conducted in the investigation of the fire. That fire sparked additional tests of the 600 high-rises in England. Residents of another housing block in Camden were furious to learn that that the cladding outside of their buildings may be unsafe.

"They have been fobbing us off, we've had letters to say 'oh everything is fine, it's fireproof', and then we got a letter today to say the polythene is in the middle," resident Michelle Urquhart told the BBC. "All the neighbors are going mad, we all want to know why they weren't honest with us from the beginning."

On Friday, June 23, the New York Times reported that, "[h]undreds of families were being evacuated from apartments in five London high-rise buildings on Friday evening after fire inspectors told local officials that the safety of the residents could not be guaranteed."

At least 11 buildings in Britain are said to use similar cladding as Grenfell Tower used, officials said according to the Times.

The fire led to accusations that income inequality played a role in in the deadly fire. Residents argued that richer neighborhoods would have had adequate fire safety.

One unnamed resident of the Grenfell Tower neighborhood tearfully told the BBC that this "shouldn't have happened."

"People cut corners. They cut corners. They were told and they didn't do anything," said the resident. "Because they're not going to listen to residents. Because they're not of a certain class or they haven't got enough money."

RELATED: Reactions to London Fire Show Many Believe the Tragedy Could Have Been Prevented