In memory… The Lakanal House Fire

The youngest victim of the Lakanal House fire.
The youngest victim of the Lakanal House Fire: Michelle Udoaka

Twelve years ago, on the 3 July, 2009, six people died in the Lakanal House Fire. The youngest victim, Michelle Udoaka was 20 days old. The lessons were not learned and on 14 June 2017, the youngest victim of the Grenfell Tower fire was Logan Isaac Gomes, still-born at seven months.

I haven’t been able to get this out of my mind, being reminded of the anniversary this morning, in a social media post by Phil Murphy. Michelle’s father said as he left the inquest:

“We fear very much that lessons have not been learned and that it could happen again”

Mbet Udoaka, father of Michelle and husband of Helen, who died in the Lakanal House fire.

The following is an extract from my book about the fire and the failures to learn from it.

My heart is with the families of all of the victims, the rescue services and those involved in the inquests.

A more detailed explanation of the fire can be found here.

And a fuller explanation of the failures to implement recommendations.

Gavin Barwell, who ignored seven letters, has, since the Grenfell Tower Fire, been made a lord and been appointed as a non-executive director of Clarion Housing. The largest housing association in the UK, Clarion are being investigated by the Regulator of Social Housing following an expose by ITV about the conditions residents were living in.

I look at that sweet innocent face and despair.

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