Joe Portlock’s Harrowing Images of the Grenfell Tower Fire

Portlock's stunning images of the community reacting to the Grenfell Tower Fire

We all woke to the news of the Grenfell Tower fire in London on Wednesday morning and were shocked and devastated to see such a tragedy occur in our capital city where so much tragedy had recently happened.

On Thursday, the death toll currently stands at 17 lives ruined, homes of around 600 people gone.

The devastation is of such a high magnitude; no one really knows how to react other than with anger. And rightfully so.

This is a tower block in North Kensington, near Westfield Shopping Centre, a very affluent area. After the fire of 2009 at Lakanal House tower block, lessons should have been learned about fire safety, about sprinklers, alarm checks, and escape routes. Worse than that, is that there had been money spent “refurbishing” the building very recently. The refurbishment, as it turns out, was unwanted by residents, as it was simply putting shiny new material on the outside of the building, allegedly to make the building “less of an eye sore” for wealthy penthouse owners.

Plain and simple, in this country, with the health and safety regulations that are in place BY LAW, this should not have happened. People in this country are often ACTIVELY PISSED OFF at the mere mention of health and safety there are that many rules in place. So why, I ask, is it OK that this building, lived in by people who are relatively poor, owned by rich landlords and managed by KCTMO (Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organization) did not have these regulations in place?

Is it OK that a former chairman of KCTMO had recently stepped down over concerns of how the firm had been run? Is it OK that after another fire at broke out at Adair Tower (their property) that the London Fire Brigade slapped the firm with an enforcement notice, and very little seemed to change? Is it OK that this happens under the watch and acceptance of our government that allows the company to turn over £17.6 million a year, and not actually be able to stop an incident like this?

The answer is no. Straight up, no. None of this is OK.

One Labour MP called this event “corporate manslaughter.” Many locals and surviving residents of the building even suggested that this is intentional, as they wanted the residents out. For a person to even think that, imagine how poorly they had been treated.

It’s disgusting, frankly. The whole situation and it is OK, in fact, it is necessary, to be angry about it.

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