Episode 232

One year ago, a raging inferno at Grenfell Tower killed 72 people and scorched the future of hundreds more now maimed and psychologically scarred. As well as a disaster, it is becoming increasingly evident it is a crime scene too. The cladding on the outside of the tower block, which allegedly produced cyanide gas when burned, was forbidden on buildings more than 10 floors high - and that’s just for starters. But other factors such as compulsory competitive tendering, deregulated responsibility for fire inspections and cuts to the fire service also appeared to have a bearing on the tragedy. So, we invited Labour MP Chris Williamson into the Sputnik studio to discuss the worst loss of life in a residential fire since the Second World War.

As people fled from the inferno of Grenfell Tower one group of men and women ran into the flames - the fire service. The same fire service which successive governments of both parties have systematically underpaid, under-resourced and slashed numbers of fire stations, equipment and personnel. Whilst no organization is above scrutiny, in some parts of the British media firefighters are being scapegoated and disproportionately blamed for the massive death toll. We invited Paul Embery, the (former) London Secretary of the Fire Brigades Union, into the studio and asked him this and other questions.

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