London — Commemorations began on Wednesday to honour the 71 people who died when a fire ripped through the Grenfell Tower block in London in 2017.
The burnt-out tower will light up in green, along with Prime Minister Theresa May’s Downing Street office, to mark the country’s deadliest domestic fire since the Second World War. May told parliament on Wednesday that the "unimaginable tragedy remains at the forefront of our minds".
Grenfell residents have planned a series of events, starting with a communal meal in the shadow of the charred apartment block at 6pm, followed by workshops to create signs, bracelets and T-shirts for the anniversary.
The fire broke out because of a faulty fridge in the kitchen of a fourth-floor flat in the 24-storey tower. The fire brigade received the first call at 12.54am on June 14 2017, as the flames spread swiftly up the building.
As part of the commemorations, 72 white roses — one for each of the people who perished, along with one for a stillborn baby — will be placed at the "wall of truth", near the tower.
There will also be 72 seconds of silence at 12.54am in honour of the victims.
"It’s very much a local affair," said Samia Badani, co-chairwoman of a board that represents 1,000 local households. "We wanted to have a private moment where we could recreate this community spirit that we are proud of," she added.
The commemorations will continue on Thursday with church services, special prayers at a local mosque, wreath-laying and the unveiling of a community mosaic. A silent walk will also be held, while banners in memory of the victims have been unfurled over the top four floors of the tower.
Relatives of those who died recently provided heart-rending testimony about their loved ones’ final moments at the beginning of a public inquiry into the fire.