Officers investigating the Grenfell Tower Fire announced on November 16th that the official death count of the fire to be 71 lives, after they recovered and identified the final two bodies. In the immediate aftermath of the fire, 400 people were listed as missing.
The final two people identified to have died in the fire were Victoria King, 71, and her daughter, Alexandra Atala, 40. According to the police, 70 people died in the fire. A baby was stillborn afterwards and is included in the death toll. Police believe that all those who died in the Grenfell Tower fire have been formally identified.
While the final death toll has been concluded, the search of the tower continues, although its end is nearing. Specially trained officers conducted a search that included a forensic fingertip search and the examination of 15.5 tonnes of debris.
This is a significant milestone in the Grenfell Tower tragedy, as the ongoing identification process contributed to prolonged trauma for the area’s residents. With each new identification, Grenfell residents and residents of neighbouring areas were given an opportunity to re-evaluate memories, leading to conflictive collective memory work.
Public hearings opened on 14 Sept 2017 for the Grenfell Tower Inquiry, a public inquiry ordered by Theresa May to establish the causes of the tragedy and suggest proper preventative measures to ensure that a similar event does not happen again. May declared that ‘no stone will be left unturned by this inquiry’. A list of issues to be investigated has been published online. An interim report is expected by Easter of 2018.
The Mayor of London Sadiq Khan proclaimed that the fire was ‘a national tragedy with national consequences’ in an emotional letter posted on The Guardian. As someone who grew up in a council block in London, Khan has openly voiced his commitment to bring the causes of the tragedy to light and ‘for the full force of law to be brought to bear.
A full description of all of the Grenfell Tower fire victims is available.