Main content
This programme is not currently available on BBC iPlayer

The Fires that Foretold Grenfell

The story of the five fires that foretold and might have prevented the Grenfell Tower disaster, in which 72 people died.

This 60-minute documentary is the dramatic, haunting story of five fires that foretold the Grenfell disaster, told through the eyes of those directly involved. This vivid and moving film for BBC Two collates the memories of survivors, the bereaved, firefighters, safety experts and the politicians linked to five intensely fierce fire disasters that preceded Grenfell. This telling collection of interviews and archive footage shows the clear warnings that existed and could have predicted a Grenfell-type inferno happening in Britain.

The programme focuses on three factors: the application of flammable material and cladding to buildings, the 'stay put' advice given by fire services, the absence of sprinklers - and how they contributed to each of the previous five blazes, sometimes with fatal consequences. Made over the course of 12 months, the film tells the story of the legislative history of building regulations from 1973 to the present day through five fires. It explores the causes, subsequent investigations and the recommendations that were sent to successive UK governments, ultimately posing the question: if lessons had been learned as a result of tragic repetition of errors over the decades, could Grenfell have been avoided?

The five fires revisited include the Summerland disaster, Douglas, Isle of Man (1973), Knowsley Heights fire, Liverpool (1991), Garnock Court fire, Irvine, N Ayrshire (1999), Harrow Court fire, Stevenage, Herts (2005), and Lakanal House, London (2009).

59 minutes

Last on

Thu 15 Nov 2018 01:15


Role Contributor
Voice of Elizabeth Hickman Emma Hall
Hickman 999 Call Operator Lucie Lovatt
Executive Producer Dan Reed
Director Jamie Roberts
Assistant Producer Simon Bunney
Executive Producer Gian Quaglieni
Film Editor Alistair Martin
Producer Owen Phillips
Producer Dan Newling
Re-recording mixer Matt Skilton
On-line editing Andrew Mitchell
Colourist Vicki Matich
Composer Chad Hobson
Narrator Nadine Marshall
Camera Assistant David Kigundu
Runner Michael Diehi
Production Company Amos Pictures Ltd
Producer Jamie Roberts


  • Tue 30 Oct 2018 21:00
  • Tue 30 Oct 2018 23:15
  • Thu 15 Nov 2018 01:15
  • Thu 15 Nov 2018 01:25

Featured in...

Was the disaster inevitable? Explore more with The Open University

Was the disaster inevitable? Explore more with The Open University

Visit OpenLearn, the OU’s home of free learning, to investigate further.