Work starts to cover charred remains of Grenfell Tower four months after blaze

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Work has begun to cover the ruin of Grenfell Tower, nearly four months since a fire inflicted the most costly tragedy in recent British history.

Scaffolding has been put up alongside the residential block so that white sheeting can be put in place, floor-by-floor, to shield it from public view.

Remnants of the cladding system widely suspected of fuelling the June 14 inferno will also be stripped back and taken away for examination by investigators, authorities say.

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC) said the work was expected to be completed in the first few months of 2018.

Around 80 people died and hundreds were left homeless in the disaster, which triggered the launch of a public inquiry and an enormous criminal investigation.

Since the night of the fire, the building’s blackened husk has been a troubling presence on the west London skyline.

Mental health professionals voiced concern that the sight of the tower was worsening symptoms of trauma for those living nearby.

Last month, Dr Alastair Bailey, the clinical psychological lead at the NHS Grenfell trauma service, said: “The fact that the tower is still there and is very high and visible from a number of different places, it can act as a trigger for a lot of people.

“So we know lots of people are avoiding the area, some people who are not avoiding the area are actively avoiding looking at the tower nearby.”

It is expected white protective wrapping will start appearing around the scaffolding from Saturday, a spokesman for RBKC said.

He added that the material should have encased the first five floors by the end of next week and then go up at the same pace as the scaffolding, around one week per floor.

The scaffold structure is already in place up to the 18th floor on the building’s east face and at the fifth floor on the other three sides.

Grenfell Tower is earmarked for demolition towards the end of next year, but police are still picking through the remains in search of evidence.

Meanwhile, a hoist is being assembled on the east side of the roof, allowing material to be extracted from the upper floors.

Recovery workers are also removing bags of the debris which rained down from the 24-storey structure and piled up at its base.

Lorries have been drafted in to help remove the loose wreckage, which will be taken to a secure depot and stored in metal containers, the Grenfell Response Team said.

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