The Great London Fire
The Grenfell Fire, an inferno that engulfed a twenty-four story apartment building, has left many dead and many others homeless. While much of London came together and money has been raised, it does not do much for the outcome. There are still people dead, and there are still people without anything at all.
Londoners came together, always, because they know they stand stronger together. Around London, people provided donations from clothes to food to money to everything in between. It wasn’t long after where people opened their homes to strangers. Celebrities came and visited, giving their own money and time. None of that even includes the amazing job the fire department and emergency services, including the NHS, did.
I do not wish to cause any more damage, but there are several things to consider.
Frist, how did this happen? Most people living within the Grenfell Tower were low income and immigrants. These apartment buildings intend to crowd as many people in as possible. It is all about cheapness. There is one elevator and one staircase. Built in the 1970’s, these apartments previously were acceptable. But, nowadays, we have more rules.
The fire, we know now, started by a refrigerator, and it all appears to be an accident. However, the flames climbed up due to the outside shelling. Buildings that are 40 feet or higher should not have this on the outside, which this complex did.
In the United States, we have progressive and expensive ways to deal with apartment and high rise buildings: the sprinkler system. If smoke is detected, the sprinklers for that area go off. The United Kingdom relies on a passive system. This means the walls and doors contain the fire to that room. For anyone who has traveled to the United Kingdom, it is probably in your memory of the little blue stickers of “This is a fire door. Remain closed” or something similar on basically every door.
Second, during the fire, the firemen and firewomen were unable to get up the stairs and save people. With only a single staircase, people from the top could not get down as the flames moved upward. A blocked staircase impeded the fire department’s ability to move up. Safety hazards like these cause major damage.
Third, the aftermath of society intended for us to come together, but some people chose to stand alone. Like I said before, people came together by donating their belongings and money. There were calls to have luxury apartments opened to the families and people in need, yet only some of the calls were answered. People living in these luxury apartments decided that these low-income families weren’t what they wanted in their buildings.
Whether it you agreed with Prime Minister Theresa May or even if you do not have any knowledge of her, people were not happy with her handling of the crisis. Many people felt that she should have been talking with the victims or even having done more. People called for her resignation. Other leaders had their names called too for the way they handled the situation.
With the United States, we find this a bit odd. We wouldn’t expect the President of the United States to visit if there was a massive inferno in Minnesota. But, this the United Kingdom is close and operates in such a way.
None of this really matters now, though, when we think about at least 79 people dead and 151 families displaced. Of course, the number of dead will continue to rise. The building will be finished the end of the year.