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  • Atina Dimitrova

Reporting Injustice Episode 3: Exposing the true extent of the Grenfell Tower disaster

Updated: Nov 12, 2020

In this episode, we look at the Grenfell Tower fire of 2017 in which 72 people died. It was the worst residential fire in Britain since the Second World War. The initial cause had been a malfunctioning fridge freezer in a fourth floor flat, but the spread of the fire was due to the type of cladding and insulation used that made the flames extend so rapidly. While the media rushed to report the disaster itself, it was a specialist publication Inside Housing which used freedom of information requests to reveal how the Grenfell disaster was far from a one-off. We also look at how council tenants were ignored and how the investigations have shown these safety issues go far beyond social housing. We talk to Sophie Barnes who worked at Inside Housing looking at the issue of fire safety.

It’s now more than three years on since the Grenfell disaster. The Grenfell inquiry recently restarted, 28 months after it began, although hearings look set to continue into 2022. We asked all our guests to reflect on what has happened since then.

Sophie Barnes is an investigative reporter at The Telegraph who has reported on successive governments' failures to tackle serious fire safety issues in tower blocks across the UK both before and after the devastating Grenfell Tower fire. Sophie started her career in local news before covering the NHS for Health Service Journal, then moving to Inside Housing - a trade magazine which has campaigned tirelessly for tougher legislation to stop future tower block fires as part of its Never Again and End Our Cladding Scandal campaigns.

This is the third episode of The Knowhow Podcast's special five-part series: Reporting Injustice... A series where we look at some of the key stories in recent years that were turning points in how we saw some fundamental issues. We talk to the journalists who uncovered them about their struggle to bring these stories to public view. And we speak to experts who explain how these reports altered the way society perceived pressing matters of race, class and sexism. From Bill Cosby to Windrush, Grenfell to missing and murdered indigenous women, Reporting Injustice looks at the story behind the stories...

Presented by: Dr. Glenda Cooper and Dr. Lindsey Blumell

Produced by: Atina Dimitrova

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