United Kingdom fire fears continue as 60 buildings deemed unsafe

29 June, 2017, 21:05 | Author: Clint Gray
  • Grenfell Tower the fire is thought to have spread so quickly in part because the building’s cladding acted like a chimney

The announcement came as around 3,000 residents of the Chalcots Estate in Camden, north London, face weeks in temporary accommodation after four tower blocks were evacuated.

The Government has announced that cladding on 60 high-rise buildings in 25 local authorities has failed fire safety tests.

London Fire Brigade inspecting officers identified concerns over the combination of external cladding, fire doors, gas pipes and insulation, she added.

Some 34 high-rise buildings in 17 local authorities across the country have failed fire cladding safety tests after the Grenfell Tower disaster, the Government has said.

Councilmembers for the London borough of Camden say it was the stark memory of the Grenfell blaze, which killed at least 79 people earlier this month, that spurred them to act.

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Downing Street declined to specify whether the Grenfell cladding was combustible or not, citing an ongoing investigation.

Mr Casey Oppong, head of the tenants' association in the Chalcots Estate's Blashford tower, said: "The scariest thing to know is that if it happened to Grenfell, it can happen to us".

The government has called on all building owners, public and private, to submit samples of cladding material used on their buildings for testing. The social housing provider, One Vision Housing, said results showed "certain elements of the cladding" on Cygnet House and Wren House in the Bootle area met building regulations but not the test criteria laid down by the DCLG.

Residents trooped out of the buildings Friday night with suitcases and plastic bags stuffed with clothes as council workers in high-visibility security vests guided them to a local community center where some spent the night on inflatable beds.

The insulation behind the cladding, however, was said to be highly fire resistant Rockwool Duoslab.

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The LGA went on to explain that a number of councils had already introduced additional fire safety measures in buildings, like 24-hour a day warden patrols when advice from the fire service is clear that this will mitigate against fire risks ahead of the removal of cladding.

"All victims, irrespective of their immigration status, will be able to access the services they need", she said. A further 11 areas, accounting for 27 of the unsafe buildings, have yet to be named.

The fire is believed to have spread due to flammable cladding on the outside of the building which was created to provide insulation and improve the look of the 24 storey tower.

He said the fire risk assessments would be completed at every high-rise residential block in Suffolk, even if they are not under the control or owned by a council.

So far, some 60 blocks have failed safety tests, while there are another 540 to be assessed.

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The Department for Communities and Local Government has put in place a "combustibility testing programme" for aluminium composite material.

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