Virtual service pays tribute to 2017 London tower fire

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson along with other political leaders have marked the third anniversary of the 2017 Grenfell Tower tragedy in London with video messages as part of a virtual service.

Seventy-two people died on this day three years ago as a small kitchen fire in the west London tower block turned into the most deadly domestic blaze since World War Two, the BBC reported.

In his message, Johnson said: “We can all remember where we were three years ago today when we saw this tragedy unfolding on our screens and across the London skyline.

“As a nation, we are still dealing with the consequences of what happened and working to make sure it never happens again.

“While those affected by Grenfell are not able to gather in person, all of us in this country are with you in spirit.”

Opposition Labour Party leader Keir Starmer pledged to do “everything” to make sure that a similar incident did not take place again.

“In the midst of their suffering, the Grenfell community came together to campaign for justice, safe homes and change. Because no one should ever go through the loss and pain they experienced,” he said.

“But three years on and, unbelievably, tonight people will go to bed in unsafe homes.

“Three years on and there has been little justice or accountability. Three years on their campaign continues.

“I support Grenfell United. We can all learn from their strength and determination,” the BBC quoted Starmer as saying in his message.

The messages will be relayed to a virtual service hosted by the Bishop of Kensington later as the commemoration moves online due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In tribute to each person who died, bells of London churches will toll 72 times and green lights will glow from tower block windows.

Faith leaders will conduct sermons and reflections online throughout Sunday and from 11.30 p.m., people in homes across the UK have been asked to shine a bright green light from their screens to show solidarity with the bereaved and survivors.

The public inquiry into the disaster was paused in March because of the pandemic and is due to restart on July 6.

Following the Grenfell Tower fire, the government identified 176 private high-rise residential buildings with aluminium composite material cladding – the same type used on Grenfell Tower.

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