Man Who Warned Authorities About Risks In Grenfell Tower Just Gave A Moving Speech To The City Council

"The way you treated our community groups with contempt was despicable."

In June, a fire at London's Grenfell Tower apartment complex killed dozens, and, in the immediate aftermath of the deadly event, many wondered if it could have been prevented.

As reported by The Mirror, Edward Daffarn, a former resident of Grenfell Tower who survived the fast-moving blaze by escaping from his residence on the 16th floor, spoke at the Kensington and Chelsea council meeting (the first full one of its kind since the tragedy) on last week and accused local authorities of ignoring alerts he and others issued detailing how residents' safety was at risk.

As one of the coauthors of the Grenfell Action Group blog, Daffarn warned the west London council that it would take a "catastrophic event" for the building's landlord — the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organization — to take tenants'' concerns seriously.

The Mirror reports that in November, 2016, Daffarn wrote on the blog, "It is a truly terrifying thought but the Grenfell Action Group firmly believe that only a catastrophic event will expose the ineptitude and incompetence of our landlord, the KCTMO, and bring an end to the dangerous living conditions and neglect of health and safety legislation that they inflict upon their tenants and leaseholders."

Armed with the knowledge that his eerily prophetic warning was obviously ignored, Daffarn addressed newly-appointed council leader Elizabeth Campbell directly when it came time to deliver his fiery speech. He began by telling her how the council routinely ignored resident's organizations within Grenfell Tower.


"All of those organizations around the past two or three years have been telling this council explicitly how you were treating us, how you were putting our lives at risk, how you were treating us with contempt. And when I sit here now and I look out, I see the same councilors — you included — who are responsible for that," Daffarn declared, according to BuzzFeed News.

"You roll your eyes at me, but I will show you an email that we wrote to you in July 2010, on the eve of this cabinet taking the decision to fund Kensington Aldridge Academy. We wrote to you, and you were cc'd into that email and we told you that if you build this building you will be putting the fire safety of Grenfell Tower residents at risk, and you ignored us."

Daffarn added that the email he referenced was "cc'd to our MP, the leader of the council, and to you, Elizabeth Campbell" before once again declaring the warnings were never heeded.

In the weeks since the devastating fire, ITV News reports many former Grenfell residents want the council (which is run by a Conservative group) to disband and be replaced by government-appointed commissioners, but Campbell has said she has no intent to resign. "I feel I'm stepping up to the challenge, rather than stepping down and away from it," she told the outlet.

Still, that hardly deterred Daffarn from calling the leadership of Campbell and the entire council into question. "If you councilors from the ruling party honestly believe that you have the legitimacy after everything you've heard here tonight — after everything that's happened in north Kensington over the past few weeks — you need to seriously reconsider," he said as the crowd consisting of many impacted by the fire uproariously cheered and applauded.

For her part, Campbell responded to Daffarn and the others gathered at the meeting with a seemingly heartfelt apology. "We did not cope well enough in our initial response to the tragedy. I know that you will have heard me apologize for the inadequate response of the council. Tonight I reiterate that apology to you directly, no ifs, no buts, no excuses," she said.

"I am deeply sorry for the grief and trauma you are suffering. I am deeply sorry that we did not do more to help you when you needed it most," she added. "I understand why you are angry. I am determined to do everything in my power to help you."

As you can see from the clip above, despite Campbell's conciliatory speech she was met with a chorus of boos from the assembled crowd. 

The BBC reports investigators are bringing in experts who recovered remains after the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York City to sift through the 15 tons of Grenfell debris left behind. The fire claimed the lives of at least 80 people, and many others are still missing.

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