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Did London's Housing Crisis Help Spark a Fatal Blaze?

Residents of Grenfell Tower could be indirect victims of the city’s approach to “affordable” housing.
Flames and smoke billow out of Grenfell Tower in London.
Flames and smoke billow out of Grenfell Tower in London.Toby Melville/Reuters

A terrifying scene unfolded in London early Wednesday morning when a 24-floor public housing tower went up in flames. Home to around 600 people, West London’s Grenfell Tower was the site of a fire that spread incredibly quickly to other floors, causing at least twelve fatalities so far, with numbers expected to rise further. Twenty-four residents are also in critical condition, injured while struggling to protect themselves or escape from the blaze.

As the tower continues to smolder, a truly awful story is coming into focus. It’s not just the grim news that people have died and hundreds more are suddenly homeless. It’s also that tenants of Grenfell Tower have been warning of unsafe conditions for years.