The families of the 69 victims and the survivors of the Grenfell Tower disaster have launched legal action in the US against the manufacturers of products and materials which they claim contributed to the start and overall ferocity of the resulting fire.
It is estimated the suit could result in a payout worth hundreds of millions of dollars.
The companies named in the suit are Arconic, manufacturer of the Celotex aluminium composite material (ACM) cladding, and the parent company, Saint Gobain. The suit puts forward that the cladding was responsible for the rapid spread of the fire.
White goods manufacturer, Whirlpool, is also named in the suit. It is claimed that faults with a Hotpoint fridge freezer, a brand produced by Whirlpool, caused the initial fire.
Lawyers claim that the cladding and insulation manufacturers “sold and supplied dangerous, defective, deadly and flammable products that they have both now withdrawn from the market”.
Further, it is claimed that the Celotex product released cyanide gas as it burned, killing several of the victims.
The suit was filed in a court in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The suit does not seek specific damages. Should the case go to trial, a jury would be responsible for setting damages.
Arconic is based in Pittsburgh, PA, while Whirlpool has its headquarters in Benton Harbor, Michigan. Saint-Gobain has its US headquarters in Philadelphia.
The Grenfell Tower fire took place in June 2017. A series of other tower blocks across the UK still feature the same Celotex cladding. In May, the government allocated £200m to fund replacement of that ACM cladding for privately-owned buildings.
It is estimated that there are 1,700 buildings across the UK with the ACM cladding.