LONDON >> British authorities today pledged not to prosecute anyone who unlawfully sublet apartments in the west London tower block before it was devastated by fire.
Communities Secretary Sajid Javid’s announcement underscored that the prosecution guidance applied to anyone who comes forward with information about people in Grenfell Tower on June 14, when a fast-moving fire killed at least 80 people.
“Supporting those affected by the tragic events at Grenfell Tower has been the absolute priority of the government,” Javid said. “That includes making sure that loved ones still missing are identified. Therefore, I would urge those with information to come forward without fear of prosecution.”
Authorities are still trying to determine who was in the structure on the night of the blaze. With anecdotal evidence suggesting some apartments were illegally sublet, authorities fear people might be afraid to come forward to offer valuable information that could identify the missing.
Meanwhile, the government pressed on with testing to identify other buildings encased in cladding material similar to that at Grenfell.
The tower had been recently renovated, and experts suggest the cladding placed on for decoration and energy efficiency might have been a factor in the quick spread of the blaze, which engulfed the building in less than an hour.
Cladding from 181 high-rise buildings in 51 local authority areas has failed fire safety tests.