At least 60 construction firms to be questioned by police over Grenfell fire

Metropolitan police commander Stuart Cundy giving an update about the criminal investigation into the Grenfell fire.

The team of 250 detectives investigating the Grenfell Tower fire are preparing to question at least 60 firms involved in the refurbishment programme at the tower block, which saw a number of improvements and modifications made to the tower in 2016.

Lead investigator Detective Chief Superintendent Fiona McCormack said: “We are investigating this as we would any major crime investigation. We will identify and investigate any criminal offence and, of course, given the deaths of so many people we are considering manslaughter, as well as criminal offences and breaches of legislation and regulations.

McCormack went on. “We are continuing to seize material on a daily basis and the number of companies and organisations that we know so far to have played a role in the refurbishment alone is over 60. Specialist experts - BRE - are working on a flat by flat assessment of every safety feature so we can provide individual accounts to families, the public inquiry and my investigation. This is so we can be clear on the state of each flat and any specific fire safety features as well as every part of the building.”

Cladding fitted to Grenfell Tower during its refurbishment was changed to a cheaper version, according to documents obtained by the BBC. Documents show that the zinc cladding originally proposed was replaced with an aluminium type, which was less fire resistant, saving nearly £300,000. The cladding is believed to have contributed to the spread of the fire that killed at least 80 people. Kensington and Chelsea Council insist that fire safety was not compromised during the refurbishment work.

The police investigation into the fire is believed to be one of the most intensive ever waged by the Metropolitan Police. Officers experienced in homicide and counter terrorism investigations are being used to investigate potential criminal offences that may have contributed to the fire as the investigation will require similar skills and expertise.

“It (the investigation) is a priority for the Met Police,” said McCormack. “Our investigation will be exhaustive - it must provide the answers that so many people are seeking and so desperately deserve,” she said.

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