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London fire: Notting HIll pastor blames 'disgusting' treatment of poor for Grenfell Tower blaze

Evening Standard logo Evening Standard 14/06/2017 Jonathan Mitchell

A pastor has blamed the “disgusting” treatment of poor people in Notting Hill for the fatal tower block inferno and said residents had been “neglected” in the area.

Danny Vance, an Associate Pastor at Notting Hill Community Church, said the deadly blaze at Grenfell Tower would not have happened in nearby “£5million flats” and that he wasn’t surprised by the fire.

He also pointed to authorities ignoring complaints from residents over fire safety, with the 24-storey block of flats undergoing a £10m renovation in May 2016.

Al least six people were killed when an inferno engulfed the 24-storey tower block in the early hours of Wednesday morning.

Mr Vance told the I Newspaper: “The disparity in this country between rich and poor is disgusting.

“This would not have happened in those £2m, £5m flats around the corner.

“In 2012 they were told they were deficient and their fire checks were out of date and they did nothing, they did absolutely nothing.”

The Grenfell Action Group have since said they had “predicted a catastrophe” but claimed safety warnings were ignored.

In a chilling blog post just seven months ago, the group said “only a catastrophic event” would make concerns heard.

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Mayor Sadiq Khan on the Grenfell tower block fire

The charred wreck of the Notting Hill tower block is set to be examined to establish the cause of the fire.

The group claimed it had repeatedly warned Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation (KCTMO,) which manages the social housing block, and the council, which owns the building.

Mr Vance added: “This isn’t a surprise to me. Anyone who’s worked anywhere in the inner city – this isn’t a surprise. The poor are constantly neglected.

grenfelltowerhawkes1406a.jpg © Provided by Independent Print Limited grenfelltowerhawkes1406a.jpg
Smoke billows out of Grenfell Tower (Jason Hawkes)

“When I started in Peckham there were 10 youth centres. By the time I left there was two. “Things like this are going to keep happening if the poor are ignored in this city.”

Horrifying accounts of residents jumping from windows have since emerged, while numerous Londoners have began donating clothes and food to the victims.

The tower, on Latimer Road, is part of the Lancaster West Estate, a social housing complex of 1,000 homes.

It is believed several hundred people could have been inside when the fire broke out.

© Provided by Independent Print Limited © Provided by Independent Print Limited

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