But the following days brought out the shocking truth. People had died in this disaster, at first they said 12 killed, the next day that doubled, then doubled again. After a confusion over the death toll, the final number was put at 72 by the time the official inquiry was commenced.
Over 220 feet high, Grenfell Tower had 129 flats within its 24 floors and it was constructed in the early 1970s, providing housing to around 600 people. Renovation projects were being carried out in the tower blocks around the Kensington area and between 2012-16 Grenfell Tower had work carried out to bring it into a more modern look and less of a 70s eyesore. But little did the residents know this was the start of a chain reaction of the tragic events that followed.
The fire that morning started just before 0100 in a fourth floor flat when a malfunctioning fridge freezer caught fire, but this is where it should have ended, contained within the flat and not extending outside of that area. But a renovation of the building had led to a new cladding being fitted to the outside of the building, but few realised that this type was not only cheaper than the usual style, but also it was highly flammable. When the fire reached the window, the flames took hold and crept up the side of the building, hitting flat after flat, trapping dozens of people in their own homes.
As this is an ongoing investigation it would be unfair to comment further on this tragedy, but already fingers have been pointed at those who knew the dangers of the cladding and the police are currently investigating claims of negligence and possibly manslaughter. Only time will tell as the inquiry goes through its stages and gathers the evidence.
It was not long after the fire that a friend invited me to his home in London and I was able to see Grenfell Tower myself. By then the whole area was sealed off, the barriers surrounding the building being high enough for onlookers to not see the lower floors, a police officer standing guard near the open residential apartments nearby, but the blackened tower rising high making a terrible mark on the London skyline.