Be informed. Be challenged. Be inspired.

Grenfell advocates demand global ban on unsafe cladding after Valencia fire

Madrid, Spain

Hamid Ali Jafari, whose father died in the 2017 Grenfell Tower fire in London, travelled to the Spanish city of Valencia this week to support those affected by a huge blaze there and urged authorities to act to avoid similar tragedies in the future.

“My life has been destroyed,” said 41-year-old Jafari, part of the Grenfell Next of Kin group supporting those who lost relatives in the fire. “We are traumatised…when we see a fire, we can’t sleep.”

A man places a stuffed toy in a makeshift memorial near the building that caught fire on February 22 and resulted in several casualties, in Campanar neighbourhood, Valencia, Spain, on 26th February, 2024. PICTURE: Reuters/Eva Manez

The Grenfell fire killed 72 people and combustible cladding system retro-fitted to the tower’s external walls was the main factor in the unstoppable spread of the flames.

The Valencia blaze broke out last Thursday and engulfed the apartment block within half an hour. Ten people died and their bodies will be handed to families on Tuesday, according to a court statement.

Authorities are yet to establish what caused the fire, while experts have said plastic or mineral materials used in the composite cladding on the facade likely contributed to the rapid spread of the blaze.

“Why are countries ignoring cladding? Are they waiting for more lives to be lost?” Jafari questioned, while David O’Connell of the same group called for a concerted action to remove cladding.

The building’s administrator, Loradmi, said it was seeking answers as to how the cladding, which was sold to them by developers as fireproof, burned the way it did.

“We have to ban these flammable materials…because now it happened in Valencia but we don’t know [where it will happen] tomorrow,” said Mirko Berti, in Valencia representing the Comitato Antonini 32 group of tenants of a Milan apartment block that was destroyed by a fire in 2021.

According to Fire Safe Europe, construction requirements vary significantly from country to country, leading to an “unequal level” of fire safety for citizens.

“There needs to be a global ban,” said Kimi Zabihyan, also an advocate at Grenfell Next of Kin. “We are sick and tired of people who just talk…we want action.”

– Additional reporting by EMMA PINEDO


sight plus logo

Sight+ is a new benefits program we’ve launched to reward people who have supported us with annual donations of $26 or more. To find out more about Sight+ and how you can support the work of Sight, head to our Sight+ page.



We’re interested to find out more about you, our readers, as we improve and expand our coverage and so we’re asking all of our readers to take this survey (it’ll only take a couple of minutes).

To take part in the survey, simply follow this link…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

For security, use of Google's reCAPTCHA service is required which is subject to the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.