Lead coroner tells of ‘apocalyptic’ scenes inside Grenfell Tower at meeting with survivors’ families

The coroner leading the inquests into people who died in the Grenfell Tower disaster described the flats’ interiors as “apocalyptic” following the blaze, it has been reported.

Survivors of the fire met with Westminster coroner Dr Fiona Wilcox in a three–hour private meeting on Tuesday evening, where residents were also told their relatives may not be identified until the end of the year.

Police were also questioned by survivors as to why no arrests had been made in the aftermath of the blaze, with Met Police Commander Stuart Cundy also in attendance.

The fire on June 14 killed at least 80 people, though officials have said the final death toll may not be known until the end of the year.


Two women embrace ahead of the meeting in Kensington (Getty Images)

Lotifa Begum, a coordinator for the charity Muslim Aid, who left partway through the meeting, said the families had been told that the “recovery phase”, where the authorities identify bodies, could take until the end of the year.

During the meeting, which was held at the Olympia London in West Kensington, Dr Wilcox reportedly told “very angry and upset” survivors of the “apocalyptic” scene facing officials looking to establish the death toll.

Ms Begum said some of the families were overwhelmed and had to leave.

Missing Grenfell Tower girl’s 13th birthday celebrated with balloon release

The family of Jessica Urbano, who lived on the 20th floor of the building, arrived at the meeting wearing t-shirts saying ‘Happy Birthday Jessie’ along with a picture of the little girl, on what a family member online said was her 13th birthday.

Families of victims greeted each other at the entrance before going inside, some ushered in by police staff.

Grenfell Tower aftermath – In pictures


The families were told before the meeting that they would not be allowed to put questions directly to Dr Wilcox or Commander Cundy, and had to email their questions in by 11am the day before.

Family members were not happy with how the meeting was organised, it was reported.

Ms Begum said: “A lot of the families would have appreciated a lot more time and notice.”

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