Lawyer: Inquiry must see if racism a factor in London blaze

Lawyer: Inquiry must see if racism a factor in London blaze
FILE - In this Friday, June 23, 2017 file photo, the burnt Grenfell Tower after the recent fire in London. An inquiry into the fire that tore through London's Grenfell Tower high-rise almost a year ago, killing 72 people, began evidence hearings Monday June 4, 2018, with a lawyer vowing it would address the “overwhelming question: Why?” The judge-led inquiry, which is expected to last about 18 months, aims to find the causes of Britain's deadliest fire in decades and to prevent future tragedies. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein, File)

LONDON (AP) — A lawyer for the survivors of Britain’s Grenfell Tower fire says an inquiry should consider whether racism contributed to the deaths of 72 people in the blaze.

Imran Khan says it’s “vital … that race, religion and social class are considered.”

The inquiry is investigating causes of the June 2017 high-rise blaze to prevent future tragedies. But some survivors want a wider scope. They accuse officials of ignoring safety concerns because the public-housing block was home to largely to immigrant and working-class residents.

Khan, who represents some of the bereaved and survivors, said Tuesday that unless race and class are considered, “we will be putting at risk the lives of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of people from black and ethnic minority communities who are over-represented in high-rise blocks across Britain.”