FT: Insurance industry warned of fire risk month before tower block blaze
FT: Insurance industry warned of fire risk month before tower block blaze
From newborns to war veterans: Hundreds evacuated from tower blocks after Grenfell fire raises cladding concerns
29 June, 2017, 07:27
An inspection showed four of the five Chalcots Estate towers in Camden were at risk over cladding, fire doors, gas pipes and insulation, prompting a chaotic evacuation with temporary accommodation offered in a local leisure centre and hotels.
There are unsafe blocks also in seven London boroughs - Barnet, Brent, Camden, Hounslow, Islington, Lambeth and Wandsworth.
Several people who were in the hallways, stairwells and common parts of the block were told to evacuate whereas those who where in their flats and smoke or heat was not affecting them were told to stay in their flat.
Hundreds of residents hastily packed their bags and sought emergency shelter, with many angry and confused about the chaotic situation. Scores of evacuees slept on inflatable beds in a gym while officials sought better accommodations for them.
The cladding on Grenfell tower has been the central point of the investigation into the blaze. Communities Secretary Sajid Javid said further testing "is running around the clock".
Fire-fighters rushed to a council block in Hampstead on Sunday night after a fire broke out on the second floor.
Gould refused to be drawn on whether there was a deadline to evacuate residents, saying: "The last thing I want to do is force people out of their homes".
"We are now rapidly identifying buildings of concern: samples are being tested very quickly; fire inspectors are checking the safety of the buildings as a whole; and we have issued interim safety guidance", he said.
She told me she was determined she would not be leaving, that she had no family to go and live with and that she felt perfectly safe in the tower block.
Prime Minister Theresa May says "the government is supporting local authorities" testing their apartment blocks.
John McDonnell, said the 79 people who died were victims of political decisions such as cuts to firefighter numbers and the closures of fire stations.
The towers declared unsafe so far are in Manchester, Portsmouth and Sunderland, as well as Norwich, Doncaster, Stockton-on-Tees and Plymouth.
'I was bullied trying to leave the building, ' said Mandy Ryan, who lives on the 22nd floor of Dorney Tower with her disabled son. I saw it on the TV, so I packed an overnight bag. "I just don't believe we can take any risk with our residents' safety, and I have to put them first".
British officials have conducted tests on some 600 high-rise buildings across England.
Detective Superintendent Fiona McCormack was asked on Friday whether the insulation and aluminium tiles used on Grenfell were acceptable for such buildings. On Friday, authorities announced that a refrigerator or freezer probably started the blaze.
Other high-rise buildings, such as some used by the NHS, were also being tested.
"The LGA has a team of staff working closely with councils and the Department for Communities and Local Government around-the-clock to help local authorities as they continue to support communities affected during this hard time".
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