Anniversary of deadly high-rise fire approaches
By DANICA KIRKA, Associated Press
LONDON (AP) — Banners were wrapped Thursday on top of the charred remains of Britain’s Grenfell Tower amid preparations to solemnly mark the anniversary of the 2017 blaze that left 72 people dead.
The 25-story London apartment building is now almost been entirely wrapped in white sheeting, with one side emblazoned in the message “Forever in our Hearts.” Another side bore a green heart, a symbol for survivors.
The wrapping comes as authorities press on with their investigations into the June 14, 2017, blaze and its aftermath.
London’s Metropolitan police arrested eight men and one woman Thursday on allegations of benefiting from housing allowances by claiming to be victims of the fire. The amounts in question range from 20,000 pounds ($27,000) to 100,000 pounds ($134,000).
“It is completely unacceptable that people would seek to profit from such a human tragedy, and try and attach themselves to a community that they are not part of,” said Detective Superintendent Matt Bonner.
An inquiry, meanwhile, is investigating causes of the high-rise blaze to prevent future tragedies. Some survivors have accused local officials of ignoring safety concerns because the public-housing block was home to largely to working-class residents in an otherwise wealthy neighborhood.
A separate police investigation also continues, involving 193 officers and staff. Police said 507 organizations have been identified as having a role in the construction, refurbishment and management of the apartment building, but authorities are focusing on 36 organizations seen as playing a significant role.
“This large and complex investigation remains a priority and we have made significant progress over the last year,” Commander Stuart Cundy said. “We will continue to investigate fearlessly, as we move forward – all our officers and staff remain committed to carrying out a thorough investigation.”
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