LONDON (AP) — The names of the 72 people who lost their lives in a London high-rise tower blaze were read out at a memorial service Tuesday to mark five years since the tragedy.
Former Prime Minister Theresa May and London Mayor Sadiq Khan joined survivors and the bereaved at the Westminster Abbey service to remember those who died in the June 14, 2017 Grenfell Tower fire, which caused the greatest loss of life in a fire on British soil since World War II.
Opening the multi-faith service, Rev. David Hoyle, the Dean of Westminster, said the loss and anguish was “still vivid and sharp.”
“Here we renew our commitment to remember those we have lost,” he said.
As faith leaders read out the names of those who perished, the congregation said in unison: “Forever in our hearts.”
The fire at Grenfell Tower, a public housing building set in Britain’s richest borough Kensington and Chelsea, horrified the nation and triggered soul-searching about public failings that contributed to so many deaths.
The fire broke out in the middle of the night in a kitchen on the fourth floor of the west London tower, and spread rapidly up the outside of the 25-story building like a lit fuse. Flammable cladding panels installed on the tower’s exterior walls have been blamed for how the fire raced out of control.
A public inquiry has been conducting a years-long investigation into the disaster, and a police investigation is also ongoing. No one has been charged.
Later Tuesday, community groups will gather in the shadows of the ruined tower to lay flowers and wreaths. Firefighters from across the country will form a guard of honor as local residents take part in a silent walk starting from the base of the tower.
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