Letter: Swift actions were taken by the council

This letter sent to the Star was written by Derek Martin, Bannerdale Road, Sheffield

Friday, 25th October 2019, 4:27 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th November 2019, 6:34 am
Part of the cladding at Hanover Way tower block being removed and replaced
Part of the cladding at Hanover Way tower block being removed and replaced

Last week I went past the sad, tragic shell of the Grenfell Tower block in London, which brought back all the terrible memories of the fire, which I I witnessed over two years ago on my TV’s screen. The impact of witnessing it first hand still hangs heavy in that community, and the continuing loss from so many people having died.

The strategic release of the first part of the report of the Grenfell Independent Inquiry this week has added to the tragedy by highlighting what lessons needed to be learned from the emergency services and the enormous bravery shown by individual firefighters. I hope that this doesn’t deflect from the enormous responsibilities of others involved in this tragedy. It also highlighted the enormous resilience shown by the Grenfell community, which is demonstrated every time, someone has been interviewed.

Let’s demand that the second report, due next year, focuses on the events that led up to the fire, and the whole issue of that building regulations that led to the inflammable cladding being installed. The fire fighters involved that night would not have known that substandard materials and poor workmanship where present when they arrived to deal with the fire. Putting their life’s in additional dangers because of the neglect of others. The Council and Fire and Rescue Service can no doubt consider the recommendations from this first report but must be seen in the context of the full situation.

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Gratefully in Sheffield, we need to recognise the swift actions that were taken by the Council in removing the cladding on the Hanover Tower Block, which was the only Council owned tower that there was serious concerns about. However, I understand that there may be a number of Privately owned Tower Blocks that are problematic and have potentially dangerous cladding, I understand that our City MPs are taking up that issue on behalf of the owners bearing in mind many of them would have been supported through government subsidies Hopefully the Grenfell report will encourage whatever government to address that issue.

So hopefully all relevant organisations can address the issues that arose out of the tragedy, with even more urgency and priority, and we all need to acknowledge our solidarity with those most directly effected by it, and ensure that nothing like it ever happens again. Let’s make sure we don’t blame those that did things to try and save life and not those who did things to save money.