Grenfell Tower fire inquiry opens in London with tributes to 72 victims

Annette Crawford
May 22, 2018

The two additional members are expected to join the second phase of the inquiry that begins in December.

Marcio Gomes, an IT worker who fled from the 21st floor through thick, poisonous fumes with his heavily pregnant wife Andreia and their two daughters, went first with an emotional tribute to his son Logan, who was stillborn in hospital hours after the escape. He managed to escape the blaze around 4AM with his wife and young daughters.

Shockingly, he warned seven months before the disaster that it would take a fire in a tower block like Grenfell to bring the negligent guilty to book.

One of the most poignant moments came at the end of a presentation by the family of Mohamed Neda who lived in Grenfell with his wife and son. He had been due to be born on August 21, 2017.

Instead he was stillborn on June 14.

Moore-Bick said that the tributes would not only serve a commemorative goal. "At that point, it felt like our hearts had broken", Mr Gomes said.

The inquiry saw a photo of Logan dressed his baby clothes.

"But that sorrow will, I hope, be tempered with the memories of past happiness, of times spent together, and of former joys", he added.

"(I was) hoping it was all a bad dream, wishing, praying, for any kind of miracle, that he would just open his eyes". "We need to know what happened, we need to have an explanation of this", she said at the time.

Dad Marcio Gomes told an inquiry into the deadly fire his son looked "like he was sleeping" as he held him in his arms.

He had earlier told the room: "I am already finding these descriptions of the deceased extremely moving and I am very conscious of the effort that some of these presenting have had to make in order to tell us about their loved ones". He lived on the 16th floor of the London tower.

Survivors and campaigners have had to fight for representation in the independent inquiry
Survivors and campaigners have had to fight for representation in the independent inquiry

The main evidence-collecting sessions will commence on June 4 with detailed outlines from lawyers representing the inquiry as well as the organisations and individuals who have been granted core participant status.

The fire claimed the lives of 72 women, men and children.

Nearly one year on, bereaved family and friends will join together and paint a picture of the loved ones they lost in front of the retired judge chairing the probe, Sir Martin Moore-Bick.

The tributes in statements read by relatives and video recordings are expected to last for nine days.

Though some of the bereaved have been too upset to give their responses to the inquiry.

To the anger of many, an independent review into building regulations, published on Thursday, failed to recommend any bans on flammable cladding, which is thought to have contributed to the speed at which the fire spread through Grenfell Tower.

Labour's shadow home secretary Diane Abbott accused the government of failing the bereaved who still have not been granted visas to be at the inquiry, saying that it should not be hard to grant a handful of visas. Many residents accused authorities of ignoring safety concerns raised months before the fire.

Despite having resisted calls for action in December and subsequent pressure from survivors, bereaved families and campaign groups, PM May announced on May 11 that she had approved the addition of two panel members capable of examining the cultural and community factors that contributed to the fire to sit alongside the chairman. "It is all about giving people a voice".

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