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  1. ITV Report

What we have learned from the Grenfell Tower fire expert reports

  • Video report on the evidence, by ITV News correspondent Paul Davies

A fire service strategy advising residents in Grenfell Tower to stay put had "effectively failed" just half an hour after the blaze broke out, an inquiry into the tragedy has heard.

During its initial findings, experts claimed there was evidence of a widespread "culture of non-compliance" when it came to fire safety measures.

The inquiry also heard the first emergency call from the scene, made by the occupant of flat 16 shortly after the blaze broke out.

Footage taken by residents was also shown - the clips estimated to have been filmed between 1.16am and 1.20am as fire consumed the building.

Monday sees the beginning of the fact-finding stage of the inquiry, and comes after seven days of emotional family tributes to the dead.

ITV News Science Editor Tom Clarke has the following report, and has looked through the key findings.

  • "Total failure" of principles to stay put

Firefighter advice for residents to stay put in the building had become ineffective just 30 minutes after the blaze began, the inquiry was told.

With the blaze having started at 12.54am, Dr Barbara Lane said the advice was clearly not working by 1.26am.

However, London Fire Brigade did not alter course and tell residents to leave the building until 2.47am.

Evidence suggested that around 187 occupants, about 64%, had evacuated by the time the advice changed.

The inquiry heard that it "may be that the formal maintenance of that advice until 2.47am made all the difference between life and death".

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  • Cause of fire still uncertain
Flat 16 was on the tower's fourth floor.

Evidence to the inquiry stressed that it was still unclear whether the initial fire in flat 16 was caused by a Hotpoint fridge freezer.

The inquiry heard that the blaze definitely spread from the kitchen window, but that there were a number of appliances in the vicinity.

Professor Luke Bisby told the inquiry: "Some evidence exists to support a hypothesis that the fire started in the south-east side of the kitchen and in the general area of the Hotpoint FF175P fridge-freezer.

"However, there is currently insufficient evidence, even based on a balance of probabilities, in my opinion, to support the hypothesis that the fire originated in the fridge-freezer, and to exclude all other potential sources of ignition."

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  • Tower cladding 'created multiple catastrophic fire-spread routes'
The fire broke out in the kitchen of flat 16.

One report said that Grenfell Tower was wrapped in a cladding system which did not comply with building regulations and was incorrectly installed, creating "multiple catastrophic fire-spread routes".

Rain-screen cladding put on the building used material that did not meet fire safety standards, while the system as a whole was not capable of effectively preventing the inferno spreading.

Dr Lane wrote: "There were multiple catastrophic fire-spread routes created by the construction form and construction detailing."

The inquiry was also told the main driver behind the fire spreading was combustible "filler" found in the aluminium outer panels, air channels and gaps in the building's cladding.

Combustible insulation materials beneath the panels were also a significant contributor.

The window frame of flat 16 contained combustible insulation products, which also aided the spread of the fire, the inquiry heard.

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  • "Culture of non-compliance" evident at Grenfell

Dr Lane said the evidence suggested a "culture of non-compliance" when it came to fire safety at the tower.

She noted that a number of fire safety measures appeared to have been inadequate.

Failure to abide by regulations were identified with the block's lifts, ventilations systems, fire mains and fire doors.

These would have hindered the escape of residents on the night of the fire, as well as the effort to tackle the fire, while also worsening the spread of smoke.

Dr Lane identified non-compliance with both passive measures, which are installed to limit the threat of fire spreading, such as fire doors, and active measures useful during a fire such as fire alarms and smoke-control measures.

Dr Lane said: "I am particularly concerned about the maintenance regime of the active and passive fire protection measures.

"I note that multiple automatic systems such as the control of the fire life and the smoke ventilation system, appear not to have operated as required."

Tributes to the victims were heard at the inquiry's opening. Credit: PA

Seventy-one people were killed during the tragedy in Kensington, west London, on June 14 last year.

The fact-finding stage of the inquiry began with an all-day address by lead counsel Richard Millett QC.

Five reports will be heard initially, also examining the effectiveness of the fire protection measures within the building.

Throughout the week, inquiry chairman Sir Martin Moore-Bick is to hear opening statements from a range of core participants.

This will include lawyers representing survivors and bereaved families, the Metropolitan Police, Kensington and Chelsea Council and firms involved in the block’s final refit.