Grenfell survivors and relatives to take legal action in US

More than 100 Grenfell survivors and relatives have opened lawsuit proceedings in the US against three firms they blame for the fire.

Grenfell Tower - Image credit: Natalie Oxford

The legal action, which will target cladding maker Arconic, isolation manufacturer Celotex, and fridge supplier Whirlpool, could result in tens of millions of dollars being paid out in damages, according to the BBC.

The fire at Grenfell Tower in London in June 2017 claimed the lives of 72 people and injured another 70.

US lawyers representing the Grenfell survivors and relatives of victims are expecting to file the lawsuit in Philadelphia this week.

They will claim damages under product liability law, which is meant to hold firms responsible for injuries caused by the goods they sell.

Both Arconic, who supplied the combustible ACM panels and Celotex, which manufactured the insulation, have their headquarters in the State of Pennsylvania.

Arconic said they would not comment on the case while official investigations into the fire continued.

Celotex told the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire programme it was “considering its position” in relation to the legal action.

A spokesperson for Whirlpool told Scottish Housing News: “We extend our deepest sympathies to everyone affected by the Grenfell Tower tragedy and we honour the extraordinary courage and dignity of the survivors and those who have lost loved-ones.

“Everyone touched by this event deserves answers, and it is entirely appropriate that the public inquiry is entrusted with finding those answers. We are committed to assisting the Grenfell Tower Inquiry in any way we can as it continues to investigate all the potential origins and causes of the fire and how it spread. While the inquiry is ongoing, it would be inappropriate to comment further at this time.

“Separately, we would like to reassure owners of these products that they are safe and they can continue to use them as normal.

“Nothing matters more to us than people’s safety. That’s why as soon as we were made aware of this incident, we launched an investigation into the model of fridge freezer that was in the flat where the fire began.

“Two separate investigations have been carried out – one by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), and another by Whirlpool. Both investigations independently found no evidence of any fault with this model and confirmed that it fully complied with all safety requirements. These conclusions have also been verified by the Government’s Chief Scientific Adviser.”

The programme was also told a number of Grenfell residents have refused to sign up to the action, saying they believe it could become a “distraction” from the ongoing public inquiry and criminal investigation.

A Grenfell Tower survivor and community leader said: “We respect those that wish to take action in the US, and we respect those that don’t wish to.”

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