BY YANN TEAR
The man whose fridge-freezer fire sparked the catastrophic disaster at Grenfell Tower has
issued a statement after being cleared of any wrongdoing.
The Phase One inquiry report into the blaze was released last week, and in it, Behailu Kebede was exonerated by Sir Martin Moore-Bick, who led the investigation.
Mr Kebede’s solicitors said their client was relieved that he had been formally exonerated of any blame for the tragedy that took place on June 14, 2017, that resulted in the deaths of 72 people.
The fire in his fourth-floor flat was caused by an electrical fault in his fridge-freezer which quickly spread up the walls, engulfing the tower block.
Sir Martin said: “Two important points need to be made at the outset.
“First, none of those who examined the large fridge-freezer, or the kitchen of Flat 16 more generally, found any evidence to suggest that the fire had been started deliberately or that it had been caused by an improvised or inexpert attempt to repair a defect in the appliance.
“Whatever the origin of the initial fire, the evidence indicates that it was accidental. Mr Kebede in particular bears no blame for what occurred in his flat, much less for the catastrophic events that followed.
“On the contrary, he did exactly what a responsible person might be expected to do in the circumstances and his presence of mind in switching off the electricity as he left the flat enabled important evidence to be gathered about the origin of the fire.”
In a statement issued through his solicitors, Mr Kebede said he wished to extend his gratitude to his legal team at Duncan Lewis Solicitors and counsel Rajiv Menon QC, doctors, psychologist and the support team “for their help and guidance”.
“He does not wish to make any further comment and we ask for the public to respect his request for privacy,” the brief statement said.
“Our thoughts are with those that are affected and with the family and friends of the victims; and we look ahead to Phase Two of the inquiry which will explain how Grenfell Tower came to be in a condition that allowed a tragedy of this scale to occur.”